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Sales Mechanisms in Online Markets: What Happened to Internet Auctions?

Author

Listed:
  • Liran Einav
  • Chiara Farronato
  • Jonathan D. Levin
  • Neel Sundaresan

Abstract

Consumer auctions were very popular in the early days of internet commerce, but today online sellers mostly use posted prices. Data from eBay shows that compositional shifts in the items being sold, or the sellers offering these items, cannot account for this evolution. Instead, the returns to sellers using auctions have diminished. We develop a model to distinguish two hypotheses: a shift in buyer demand away from auctions, and general narrowing of seller margins that favors posted prices. Our estimates suggest that the former is more important. We also provide evidence on where auctions still are used, and on why some sellers may continue to use both auctions and posted prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Liran Einav & Chiara Farronato & Jonathan D. Levin & Neel Sundaresan, 2013. "Sales Mechanisms in Online Markets: What Happened to Internet Auctions?," NBER Working Papers 19021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19021
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Liran Einav & Theresa Kuchler & Jonathan Levin & Neel Sundaresan, 2011. "Learning from Seller Experiements in Online Markets," Discussion Papers 10-033, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    2. Hammond, Robert G., 2010. "Comparing revenue from auctions and posted prices," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-9, January.
    3. Jong-Rong Chen & Kong-Pin Chen & Chien-Fu Chou & Ching-I Huang, 2013. "A Dynamic Model of Auctions with Buy-It-Now: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 393-429, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tobias J. Klein & Christian Lambertz & Konrad O. Stahl, 2016. "Market Transparency, Adverse Selection, and Moral Hazard," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(6), pages 1677-1713.
    2. Bergemann, Dirk & Pavan, Alessandro, 2015. "Introduction to Symposium on Dynamic Contracts and Mechanism Design," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 159(PB), pages 679-701.
    3. repec:eee:jouret:v:92:y:2016:i:1:p:96-108 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Hummel, Patrick, 2015. "Simultaneous use of auctions and posted prices," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 269-284.
    5. Kong-Pin Chen & Hung-pin Lai & Ya-Ting Yu, 2014. "Do consumers discount parallel imports?," Asia-Pacific Journal of Accounting & Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 58-77, March.
    6. Eberhard Feess & Christian Grund & Markus Walzl & Ansgar Wohlschlegel, 2014. "Competing Trade Mechanisms and Monotone Mechanism Choice," Working Papers 2014-28, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    7. Liran Einav & Jonathan Levin, 2014. "The Data Revolution and Economic Analysis," Innovation Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 1-24.
    8. Bauner, Christoph, 2015. "Mechanism choice and the buy-it-now auction: A structural model of competing buyers and sellers," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 19-31.
    9. Matthew Backus & Thomas Blake & Dimitriy V. Masterov & Steven Tadelis, 2017. "Expectation, Disappointment, and Exit: Reference Point Formation in a Marketplace," NBER Working Papers 23022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Matthew Backus & Tom Blake & Steven Tadelis, 2015. "Cheap Talk, Round Numbers, and the Economics of Negotiation," NBER Working Papers 21285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Wataru Tamura, 2016. "Auction Platform Design and the Linkage Principle," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 201-225, June.
    12. Dirk Bergemann & Alessandro Pavan, 2015. "Introduction to JET Symposium Issue on "Dynamic Contracts and Mechanism Design"," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2016, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    13. Hanzhe Zhang, 2013. "The Optimal Sequence of Costly Mechanisms," Working Papers 2014-005, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    14. Sandro Shelegia & Joshua Sherman, 2018. "Bargaining at Retail Stores: Evidence from Vienna," Working Papers 1032, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    15. Sandro Shelegia & Joshua Sherman, 2018. "Bargaining at Retail Stores: Evidence from Vienna," Economics Working Papers 1606, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D47 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Market Design
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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