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A dollar for your thoughts: Feedback-conditional rebates on eBay

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  • Luis Cabral
  • Lingfang Li

Abstract

We run a series of controlled field experiments on eBay where buyers are re-warded for providing feedback. Our results provide little support for the hypothesis of buyer's rational economic behavior: the likelihood of feedback barely increases as we increase feedback rebate values; also, the speed of feedback, bid levels and the number of bids are all insensitive to rebate values. By contrast, we find evidence consistent with reciprocal buyer behavior. Lower trans-action quality leads to a higher probability of negative feedback as well as a speeding up of such negative feedback. However, when transaction quality is low (as measured by slow shipping), offering a rebate significantly decreases the likelihood of negative feedback. All in all, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that buyers reciprocate the seller's "good deeds" (feedback rebate, high transaction quality) with more frequent and more favorable feedback. As a result, sellers can "buy" feedback, but such feedback is likely to be biased.

Suggested Citation

  • Luis Cabral & Lingfang Li, 2015. "A dollar for your thoughts: Feedback-conditional rebates on eBay," Natural Field Experiments 00578, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00578
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    Cited by:

    1. Lingfang (Ivy) Li & Steven Tadelis & Xiaolan Zhou, 2020. "Buying reputation as a signal of quality: Evidence from an online marketplace," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 51(4), pages 965-988, December.
    2. Jannett Highfill & Kevin M. O’Brien, 2018. "eBay Memorabilia Auctions vis-à -vis Predictions for the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 63(1), pages 71-78, March.
    3. Zegners, Dainis, 2017. "Building an Online Reputation with Free Content: Evidence from the E-book Market," VfS Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168293, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Anna Ressi, 0. "Discussion of “The Market for Reviews: Strategic Behavior of Online Product Reviewers with Monetary Incentives”," Schmalenbach Business Review, Springer;Schmalenbach-Gesellschaft, vol. 0, pages 1-9.
    5. Dirk van Straaten, 2021. "Incentive Schemes in Customer Rating Systems - Comparing the Effects of Unconditional and Conditional Rebates on Intrinsic Motivation," Working Papers Dissertations 71, Paderborn University, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics.
    6. Dandan Qiao & Shun-Yang Lee & Andrew B. Whinston & Qiang Wei, 2020. "Financial Incentives Dampen Altruism in Online Prosocial Contributions: A Study of Online Reviews," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 31(4), pages 1361-1375, December.
    7. Jürgen Neumann, 2021. "When Biased Ratings Benefit the Consumer - An Economic Analysis of Online Ratings in Markets with Variety-Seeking Consumers," Working Papers Dissertations 77, Paderborn University, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics.
    8. Anna Ressi, 2020. "Discussion of “The Market for Reviews: Strategic Behavior of Online Product Reviewers with Monetary Incentives”," Schmalenbach Business Review, Springer;Schmalenbach-Gesellschaft, vol. 72(3), pages 437-445, July.
    9. Kim, Jong Min & Lee, Eunkyung & Mariani, Marcello M., 2021. "The influence of launching mobile channels on online customer reviews," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 366-378.
    10. von Essen, Emma & Karlsson, Jonas Karlsson, 2013. "A matter of transient anonymity: Discrimination by gender and foreignness in online auctions," Research Papers in Economics 2013:6, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    11. Gordon Burtch & Yili Hong & Ravi Bapna & Vladas Griskevicius, 2018. "Stimulating Online Reviews by Combining Financial Incentives and Social Norms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 64(5), pages 2065-2082, May.
    12. Xiaoyu Yu & Yajie Li & Daniel Q. Chen & Xiaotong Meng & Xiangming Tao, 2019. "Entrepreneurial bricolage and online store performance in emerging economies," Electronic Markets, Springer;IIM University of St. Gallen, vol. 29(2), pages 167-185, June.
    13. Yan Chen & Peter Cramton & John A. List & Axel Ockenfels, 2020. "Market Design, Human Behavior, and Management," NBER Working Papers 26873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Cui, Geng & Chung, Yuho & Peng, Ling & Zheng, Wanyi, 2022. "The importance of being earnest: Mandatory vs. voluntary disclosure of incentives for online product reviews," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 633-645.
    15. Gesche, Tobias, 2018. "Reference Price Shifts and Customer Antagonism: Evidence from Reviews for Online Auctions," VfS Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181650, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    16. Emma von Essen & Jonas Karlsson, 2019. "The effect of competition on discrimination in online markets—Anonymity and selection," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(8), pages 1-18, August.
    17. Jürgen Neumann & Dominik Gutt & Dennis Kundisch, 2018. "The Traveling Reviewer Problem – Exploring the Relationship between Offline Locations and Online Rating Behavior," Working Papers Dissertations 44, Paderborn University, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics.
    18. Ni Huang & Gordon Burtch & Bin Gu & Yili Hong & Chen Liang & Kanliang Wang & Dongpu Fu & Bo Yang, 2019. "Motivating User-Generated Content with Performance Feedback: Evidence from Randomized Field Experiments," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 65(1), pages 327-345, January.
    19. Yang, Liu & Dong, Shaozeng, 2018. "Rebate strategy to stimulate online customer reviews," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 204(C), pages 99-107.

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