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Money Talks? An Experimental Study of Rebate in Reputation System Design

  • Li, Lingfang (Ivy)
  • Xiao, Erte

Reputation systems that rely on feedback from traders are important institutions for helping sustain trust in markets, while feedback information is usually considered a public good. We apply both theoretical models and experiments to study how raters' feedback behavior responds to different reporting costs and how to improve market efficiency by introducing a pre-commitment device for sellers in reputation systems. In particular, the pre-commitment device we study here allows sellers to provide rebates to cover buyers' reporting costs before buyers make purchasing decisions. Using a buyer-seller trust game with a unilateral feedback scheme, we find that a buyer’s propensity to leave feedback is more sensitive to reporting costs when the seller cooperates than when the seller defects. The seller’s decision on whether to provide a rebate significantly affects the buyer’s decision to leave feedback by compensating for the feedback costs. More importantly, the rebate decision has a significant impact on the buyer's purchasing decision via signaling the seller's cooperative type. The experimental results show that the rebate mechanism improves the market efficiency.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 22401.

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Date of creation: 29 Apr 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:22401
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  4. Chrysanthos Dellarocas & Charles A. Wood, 2008. "The Sound of Silence in Online Feedback: Estimating Trading Risks in the Presence of Reporting Bias," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(3), pages 460-476, March.
  5. Gary E. Bolton & Elena Katok & Axel Ockenfels, 2003. "How Effective are Electronic Reputation Mechanisms? An Experimental Investigation," Working Paper Series in Economics 3, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
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  10. Brit Grosskopf & Rajiv Sarin, 2010. "Is Reputation Good or Bad? An Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2187-2204, December.
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  12. Klein, Tobias & Lambertz, Christian & Spagnolo, Giancarlo & Stahl, Konrad, 2006. "Last Minute Feedback," CEPR Discussion Papers 5693, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  14. Offerman, Theo, 2002. "Hurting hurts more than helping helps," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1423-1437, September.
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  17. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  18. Ginger Zhe Jin & Andrew Kato, 2006. "Price, quality, and reputation: evidence from an online field experiment," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 983-1005, December.
  19. Bolton, Gary E. & Katok, Elena & Ockenfels, Axel, 2005. "Cooperation among strangers with limited information about reputation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1457-1468, August.
  20. Brandts, Jordi & Figueras, Neus, 2003. "An exploration of reputation formation in experimental games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 89-115, January.
  21. David Masclet & Thierry Pénard, 2008. "Is the ebay feedback system really efficient ? an experimental study," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 200803, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
  22. 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.
  23. Carl Shapiro, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-679.
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