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Sellers' Economic Incentives to Disclose Negative Information in Online Markets

융합경영연구 / The Journal of Economics, Marketing and Management, (E)2288-7709
2021, v.9 no.2, pp.33-43
https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.20482/jemm.2021.9.2.33
HUH, Seung (College of Business Administration, Incheon National University)
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Abstract

Purpose: This study aims to verify sellers' economic incentives for voluntarily disclosing negative information in online markets and provide practical guidelines to online sellers in terms of whether, when, and how sharing low quality to buyers increase sales. Research design, data and methodology: Our model examines the number of bidders in Internet auctions to measure potential demand and uses count data analysis following previous studies that have also analyzed the number of bidders in auctions. After checking over-dispersion and zero-inflation in our data, we have run a Poisson regression to analyze the effect of sharing negative information on sales. Results: This study presents a counterintuitive result that low-quality sellers can increase their demand by fully disclosing negative information in an online market, if appropriate risk-reducing methods are employed. Our finding thus shows that there exists economic incentive for online sellers to voluntarily disclose negative information about their products, and that the context of transactions may affect this incentive structure as the incentive varies across product categories. Conclusions: As the positive impact of disclosing negative information has rarely been studied so far, this paper contributes to the literature by providing a unique empirical analysis on the impact of sellers' honesty on sales. By verifying economic incentives of disclosing low quality with actual online sales data, this study suggests practical implications on information disclosure strategy to many online sellers dealing with negative information.

keywords
Information asymmetry, negative information, lemon market, online auction, quality certification

융합경영연구