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How eBay Sellers set “Buy-it-now†prices - Bringing The Field Into the Lab

  • Grebe, Tim
  • Ivanova-Stenzel, Radosveta
  • Kröger, Sabine

In this paper we introduce a new type of experiment that combines the advantages of lab and field experiments. The experiment is conducted in the lab but using an unchanged market environment from the real world. Moreover, a subset of the standard subject pool is used, containing those subjects who have experience in conducting transactions in that market environment. This guarantees the test of the theoretical predictions in a highly controlled environment and at the same time enables not to miss the specific features of economic behavior exhibited in the field. We apply the proposed type of experiment to study seller behavior in online auctions with a Buy-It-Now feature, where early potential bidders have the opportunity to accept a posted price offer from the seller before the start of the auction. Bringing the field into the lab, we invited eBay buyers and sellers into the lab to participate in a series of auctions on the eBay platform. We investigate how traders' experience in a real market environment influences their behavior in the lab and whether abstract lab experiments bias subjects' behavior.

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Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 181.

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Date of creation: Nov 2006
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Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:181
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  1. Timothy Mathews & Brett Katzman, 2006. "The role of varying risk attitudes in an auction with a buyout option," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 597-613, 04.
  2. Kagel, John H & Harstad, Ronald M & Levin, Dan, 1987. "Information Impact and Allocation Rules in Auctions with Affiliated Private Values: A Laboratory Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1275-1304, November.
  3. Timothy Mathews, 2006. "Bidder Welfare In An Auction With A Buyout Option," International Game Theory Review (IGTR), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 8(04), pages 595-612.
  4. Charness, Gary & Levin, Dan, 2003. "When Optimal Choices Feel Wrong: A Laboratory Study of Bayesian Updating, Complexity, and Affect," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7g63k28w, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  5. Anderson, Steve & Friedman, Daniel & Milam, Garrett & Singh, Nirvikar, 2004. "Buy it Now: A Hybrid Internet Market Institution," Santa Cruz Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt21d715v9, Department of Economics, UC Santa Cruz.
  6. Dan Ariely & Axel Ockenfels & Alvin E Roth, 2003. "An Experimental Analysis of Ending Rules in Internet Auctions," Levine's Bibliography 506439000000000433, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Timothy Mathews, 2003. "A Risk Averse Seller in a Continuous Time Auction with a Buyout Option," Brazilian Electronic Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, vol. 5(2), January.
  8. 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.
  9. Alvin E. Roth & Axel Ockenfels, . "Last-Minute Bidding and the Rules for Ending Second-Price Auctions: Evidence from eBay and Amazon Auctions on the Internet," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2002-32, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  10. Ivanova-Stenzel, Radosveta & Kröger, Sabine, 2005. "Price formation in a sequential selling mechanism," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 92, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  11. 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, 01.
  12. 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.
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