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Buy it now: A hybrid market institution

Listed author(s):
  • Anderson, Steven
  • Friedman, Daniel
  • Milam, Garrett
  • Singh, Nirvikar

This paper analyzes seller choices and outcomes in approximately 700 Internet auctions of a relatively homogeneous good. The ‘Buy it Now’ option allows the seller to convert the auction into a posted price market. We use a structural model to control for the conduct of the auction as well as product and seller characteristics. In explaining seller choices, we find that the ‘Buy it Now’ option was used more often by sellers with higher ratings and offering fewer units; and posted prices were more prevalent for used items. In explaining auction outcomes, we find that auctions with a ‘Buy it Now’ price had higher winning bids, ceteris paribus, whether or not the auction ended with the ‘Buy it Now’ offer being accepted, possibly reflecting signaling or bounded rationality. We also find that posting prices, by combining ‘Buy it Now’ and an equal starting price, was an effective strategy for sellers in the sample.

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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/4322/1/MPRA_paper_4322.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 4322.

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Date of creation: Jul 2007
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:4322
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  1. Bulow, Jeremy & Klemperer, Paul, 1996. "Auctions versus Negotiations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 180-194, March.
  2. Durham Yvonne & Roelofs Matthew R & Standifird Stephen S, 2004. "eBay's Buy-It-Now Function: Who, When, and How," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, October.
  3. Alvin E. Roth & Axel Ockenfels, 2002. "Last-Minute Bidding and the Rules for Ending Second-Price Auctions: Evidence from eBay and Amazon Auctions on the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1093-1103, September.
  4. Paul Resnick & Richard Zeckhauser & John Swanson & Kate Lockwood, 2006. "The value of reputation on eBay: A controlled experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(2), pages 79-101, June.
  5. Charles R. Plott & Vernon L. Smith, 1978. "An Experimental Examination of Two Exchange Institutions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(1), pages 133-153.
  6. Bajari, Patrick & Hortacsu, Ali, 2003. " The Winner's Curse, Reserve Prices, and Endogenous Entry: Empirical Insights from eBay Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 329-355, Summer.
  7. Budish, Eric B. & Takeyama, Lisa N., 2001. "Buy prices in online auctions: irrationality on the internet?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 325-333, September.
  8. Cason, Timothy N. & Friedman, Daniel & Milam, Garrett H., 2003. "Bargaining versus posted price competition in customer markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 223-251, February.
  9. Ockenfels, Axel & Roth, Alvin E., 2006. "Late and multiple bidding in second price Internet auctions: Theory and evidence concerning different rules for ending an auction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 297-320, May.
  10. Daniel Houser & John Wooders, 2006. "Reputation in Auctions: Theory, and Evidence from eBay," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 353-369, June.
  11. Steven Anderson & Daniel Friedman & Garrett Milam & Nirvikar Singh, 2004. "Seller Strategies on eBay," Industrial Organization 0412004, EconWPA.
  12. Anderson, Steven & Friedman, Daniel & Milam, Garrett & Singh, Nirvikar, 2007. "Seller strategies on eBay: Does size matter?," MPRA Paper 4324, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. David Lucking-Reiley, 1999. "Using Field Experiments to Test Equivalence between Auction Formats: Magic on the Internet," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1063-1080, December.
  14. Timothy Mathews, 2004. "The Impact of Discounting on an Auction with a Buyout Option: a Theoretical Analysis Motivated by eBay’s Buy-It-Now Feature," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 81(1), pages 25-52, January.
  15. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan, 2001. "Information Gatekeepers on the Internet and the Competitiveness of Homogeneous Product Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 454-474, June.
  16. Colin Campbell & Dan Levin, 2006. "When and why not to auction," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 27(3), pages 583-596, April.
  17. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
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