Olin School of Business
Washington University in St. Louis
St Louis, MO 63130
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|April 2014||Market Structure, Reputation, and the Value of Quality Certification|
with Raymond Fisman, Brian McManus: w20074
Quality certification programs help consumers to identify high-quality products or sellers in markets with information asymmetries. Using data from eBay UK's online marketplace, we study how certification's impact on consumer demand varies with market- and seller-level attributes, exploiting quasi-experimental variation in sellers' certification status. The positive effects of eBay's "top rated seller" certification are stronger for categories with relatively few other certified sellers, in more competitive markets, and for sellers with shorter records of past performance. These findings indicate certification provides its greatest value when certification is rare, the product space is crowded, and for sellers lacking established reputations.
Published: Daniel W. Elfenbein & Raymond Fisman & Brian McManus, 2015. "Market Structure, Reputation, and the Value of Quality Certification," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 83-108, November. citation courtesy of
|December 2009||Reputation, Altruism, and the Benefits of Seller Charity in an Online Marketplace|
with Raymond Fisman, Brian McManus: w15614
We investigate the impact of charity tie-ins on transaction probabilities and sale prices using a large database of eBay auctions. We examine "natural experiments" of precisely matched clusters of charity and non-charity auctions with identical titles, subtitles, sellers, and start prices. We find a 6 to 14 percentage point increase in sale probability and a 2 to 6 percent greater maximum bid for charity items, depending on the fraction of auction proceeds that is donated to charity. The impact on sale probability and price is most pronounced among sellers without extensive eBay histories, suggesting that consumers view charity as a signal of seller quality and a substitute for reputation. We also find that charity-tied products by all sellers are more likely to sell (and at higher pri...
Published: Charity as a substitute for reputation: Evidence from an online marketplace (with Daniel Elfenbein and Brian McManus), Review of Economic Studies, 2012.
|August 2007||Publications, Patents, and the Market for University Inventions|
in Academic Science and Entrepreneurship: Dual Engines of Growth, Adam Jaffe, Josh Lerner, Scott Stern, Marie Thursby, organizers
|April 2001||Links and Hyperlinks: An Empirical Analysis of Internet Portal Alliances, 1995-1999|
with Josh Lerner: w8251
This paper examines the structure of over 100 alliances by Internet portals from 1995 to 1999. These alliances were an attractive empirical testing ground because of the large number and heterogeneous nature of the contracts, the high standards for disclosure in the industry, and the careful delineation of ownership, control, exclusivity, and other provisions in the contracts. The division of ownership and allocation of control rights displayed patterns consistent with the predictions in the incomplete contracting literature. Similarly, the exclusivity of the agreements appeared to vary, at least weakly, with the value of the product or service being made available to the portal, consistent with the licensing literature. In other cases, particularly in regard to the differing allocation...
Published: "Ownership and Control Rights in Internet Portal Alliances," Rand Journal of Economics, 34 (Summer 2003) 356-369.