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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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  1. Chrysanthos Dellarocas, 2003. "The Digitization of Word of Mouth: Promise and Challenges of Online Feedback Mechanisms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(10), pages 1407-1424, October.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Martin Brown & Christian Zehnder, 2008. "On Reputation: A Microfoundation of Contract Enforcement and Price Rigidity," Working Papers 2008-17, Swiss National Bank.
  3. 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.
  4. Klein, Tobias J. & Lambertz, Christian & Spagnolo, Giancarlo & Stahl, Konrad O., 2006. "Last Minute Feedback," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 62, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  5. 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.
  6. Luis Cabral & Ali Hortacsu, 2004. "The Dynamics of Seller Reputation: Theory and Evidence from eBay," NBER Working Papers 10363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Erte Xiao & Daniel Houser, 2005. "Emotion expression in human punishment behavior," Experimental 0504003, EconWPA, revised 18 May 2005.
  8. Gary E. Bolton & Elena Katok & Axel Ockenfels, 2004. "How Effective Are Electronic Reputation Mechanisms? An Experimental Investigation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(11), pages 1587-1602, November.
  9. Patrick Bajari & Ali Horta�su, 2004. "Economic Insights from Internet Auctions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(2), pages 457-486, June.
  10. 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.
  11. Offerman, Theo, 2002. "Hurting hurts more than helping helps," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1423-1437, September.
  12. Resnick, Paul & Zeckhauser, Richard & Swanson, John & Lockwood, Kate, 2003. "The Value of Reputation on eBay: A Controlled Experiment," Working Paper Series rwp03-007, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  13. Eric J. Friedman* & Paul Resnick, 2001. "The Social Cost of Cheap Pseudonyms," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(2), pages 173-199, 06.
  14. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  15. Diamond, Douglas W, 1989. "Reputation Acquisition in Debt Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 828-62, August.
  16. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999. "Reputation and Imperfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 238, David K. Levine.
  17. 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.
  18. Shapiro, Carl, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-79, November.
  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. Paul Resnick & Christopher Avery & Richard Zeckhauser, 1999. "The Market for Evaluations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 564-584, June.
  21. 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.
  22. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521123204 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Al-Ubaydli, Omar & Lee, Min Sok, 2009. "An experimental study of asymmetric reciprocity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 738-749, November.
  24. Dellarocas, Chrysanthos, 2003. "The Digitization of Word-of-mouth: Promise and Challenges of Online Feedback Mechanisms," Working papers 4296-03, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  25. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
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