Well, in fact it is not a piece of news. It is the title of a paper I wrote last winter. After finishing it, I went on doing something else and forgot it. Now it is already a new spring, I do not want to submit it to any journals since I have nothing fresh to add into it. Without anything new, I don't have the incentive to edit it. Therefore, I share it with you here.
What Do We Pay For Asymmetric Information? The Mechanism Evolution of Reputation, Punishment and Barriers to Entry in Online Markets
The appearance of the Internet reduces transaction costs greatly, and brings the boom of online markets. While we are trying to regard it as the most realistic approximation of perfect competition market, the asymmetric information and a series of problems caused by it stop us from dreaming. As the old saying goes, there is no free lunch. This summer witnessed the collapse of the reputation system in Taobao, the biggest online transaction website in China. In fact, during the evolution of mechanisms in online markets, reputation, punishment and barriers to entry have been established in turn. What do we pay for maintaining these mechanisms? In which circumstance will they be effective?
In this paper I try to build a series of models within the principal-agent framework and repeated games to explain why and what we should pay for asymmetric information while enjoying shopping online. Specifically, these mechanisms are considered step by step and their boundary validation conditions are discussed. Finally, as the conclusion indicates, in a larger range that a mechanism is effective, the more opportunity cost should be paid as a rent for information.
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