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The Role of Quality in Service Markets Organized as Multi-Attribute Auctions


  • Elena Krasnokutskaya

    () (Department of Economics, Johns Hopkins University)

  • Kyungchul Song

    () (Department of Economics, University of British Columbia)

  • Xun Tang

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)


We develop an empirical methodology to study markets for services. These markets are typically organized as multi-attribute auctions in which buyers take into account seller's price as well as various characteristics, including quality. Our identification and estimation strategies exploit observed buyers' and sellers' decisions to recover the distribution of sellers' qualities, the distribution of seller's costs conditional on quality, and the distribution of buyers' tastes. Our empirical results from the on-line market for programming services confirm that quality plays an important role. We use our estimates to study the effect of licensing restrictions and to assess the loss of value from using standard rather than multi-attribute auctions as is common in public procurement.

Suggested Citation

  • Elena Krasnokutskaya & Kyungchul Song & Xun Tang, 2013. "The Role of Quality in Service Markets Organized as Multi-Attribute Auctions," PIER Working Paper Archive 13-053, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:13-053

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
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    3. Gregory Lewis, 2011. "Asymmetric Information, Adverse Selection and Online Disclosure: The Case of eBay Motors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1535-1546, June.
    4. Lee, Sokbae & Song, Kyungchul & Whang, Yoon-Jae, 2013. "Testing functional inequalities," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 172(1), pages 14-32.
    5. Li, Tong & Perrigne, Isabelle & Vuong, Quang, 2000. "Conditionally independent private information in OCS wildcat auctions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 98(1), pages 129-161, September.
    6. Nevo, Aviv, 2001. "Measuring Market Power in the Ready-to-Eat Cereal Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 307-342, March.
    7. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Bernard Salanie, 2000. "Testing for Asymmetric Information in Insurance Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(1), pages 56-78, February.
    8. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1997. "The Career Decisions of Young Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 473-522, June.
    9. Marion, Justin, 2007. "Are bid preferences benign? The effect of small business subsidies in highway procurement auctions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1591-1624, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sokbae Lee & Kyungchul Song & Yoon-Jae Whang, 2014. "Testing For A General Class Of Functional Inequalities," KIER Working Papers 889, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
    2. NAKABAYASHI Jun & HIROSE Yohsuke, 2016. "Structural Estimation of the Scoring Auction Model," Discussion papers 16008, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    3. Takahashi, Hidenori, 2015. "Strategic design under uncertain evaluations : structural analysis of design-build auctions," Working Papers 15-08, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    quality; services; licensing; procurement; multi-attribute auctions; identification; unobserved heterogeneity; unobserved buyers'tastes; participation in auctions;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C18 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Methodolical Issues: General
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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