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Buy it Now: A Hybrid Internet Market Institution

  • Anderson, Steve
  • Friedman, Daniel
  • Milam, Garrett
  • Singh, Nirvikar

This paper analyzes seller choices and outcomes in approximately 700 recent Internet auctions on eBay. The ‘Buy it Now’ option that is available in these auctions allows the seller to supplement or replace the auction with a posted price offer. We use a structural model to control for the endogenous conduct of the auction (e.g., number of bids and bidders) as well as product and seller characteristics. Among other results, we find that the ‘Buy it Now’ option was used more often by sellers with higher ratings (awarded by previous buyers) and sellers offering fewer units; and that posted prices were more prevalent for used items. Sellers obtained higher prices for unused and undamaged items overall, and especially when selling at the ‘Buy it Now’ price.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz in its series Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt21d715v9.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucscec:qt21d715v9
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  1. Ockenfels, Axel & Roth, Alvin E., 2006. "Late and multiple bidding in second price Internet auctions: Theory and evidence concerning different rules for ending an auction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 297-320, May.
  2. Alvin E. Roth & Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "Last-Minute Bidding and the Rules for Ending Second-Price Auctions: Evidence from eBay and Amazon Auctions on the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1093-1103, September.
  3. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1983. "Sequential Bargaining with Incomplete Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 221-47, April.
  4. Cason, Timothy N. & Friedman, Daniel & Milam, Garrett H., 2003. "Bargaining versus posted price competition in customer markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 223-251, February.
  5. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan, 2001. "Information Gatekeepers on the Internet and the Competitiveness of Homogeneous Product Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 454-474, June.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521736602 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Paul Resnick & Richard Zeckhauser & John Swanson & Kate Lockwood, 2006. "The value of reputation on eBay: A controlled experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 79-101, June.
  8. Anderson, Steve & Friedman, Daniel & Milam, Garrett & Singh, Nirvikar, 2004. "Seller Strategies on eBay," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt43z3965f, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  9. Doug Bryan & David Lucking-Reiley & Naghi Prasad & Daniel Reeves, 2000. "Pennies from eBay: The Determinants of Price in Online Auctions," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0003, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  10. David Lucking-Reiley, 1999. "Using field experiments to test equivalence between auction formats: Magic on the internet," Framed Field Experiments 00183, The Field Experiments Website.
  11. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  12. Colin Campbell & Dan Levin, 2006. "When and why not to auction," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 583-596, 04.
  13. Spulber, Daniel F, 1996. "Market Making by Price-Setting Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(4), pages 559-80, October.
  14. Cason, Timothy N. & Friedman, Daniel, 1996. "Price formation in double auction markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 20(8), pages 1307-1337, August.
  15. Bulow, Jeremy & Klemperer, Paul, 1996. "Auctions versus Negotiations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 180-94, March.
  16. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
  17. Gale, Douglas, 1987. "Limit theorems for markets with sequential bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 20-54, October.
  18. Daniel F. Spulber, 1996. "Market Microstructure and Intermediation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 135-152, Summer.
  19. Stoll, Hans R., 2003. "Market microstructure," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 553-604 Elsevier.
  20. Budish, Eric B. & Takeyama, Lisa N., 2001. "Buy prices in online auctions: irrationality on the internet?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 325-333, September.
  21. Cason Timothy N. & Friedman Daniel, 2002. "A Laboratory Study of Customer Markets," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 1-45, February.
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