To be or not to be anonymous guides discrimination in online reciprocal feedback

Overview Description Data and documentation

Creator/Principal investigator(s)

Emma von Essen - Stockholm University, Department of Economics

Description

Theoretical and empirical work highlight the importance of trust and reciprocity in economic exchange. Online reputational feedback systems are crucial in generating trust and this is essential for economic success. Discrimination in feedback may, therefore, create inequality in the long run. We expect competition and selection to eradicate price discrimination and we, therefore, focus on discrimination in feedback. In addition, we look at discrimination and anonymity. Anonymity is a common feature online and is sometimes used as a strategy to circumvent discrimination. We construct a field experiment on eBay, where half of the sellers disclose their names in their usernames while the other half do not. eBay, however, automatically communicates the seller’s names to the buyer after the auction has ended. We find discrimination in feedback, but it only occurs when sellers had anonymous usernames, suggesting that anonymity as a fairness strategy might backfire.

Purpose:

Explore discrimination by gender and foreignness in buyer feedback online and how user anonymity can affect this possible dis

... Show more..

Subject area

ECONOMICS (CESSDA Topic Classification)
Social Sciences (The Swedish standard of fields of research 2011)

Responsible department/unit

Creator/Principal investigator(s)

Emma von Essen - Stockholm University, Department of Economics

Identifiers

SND-ID: SND 1061

Description

Theoretical and empirical work highlight the importance of trust and reciprocity in economic exchange. Online reputational feedback systems are crucial in generating trust and this is essential for economic success. Discrimination in feedback may, therefore, create inequality in the long run. We expect competition and selection to eradicate price discrimination and we, therefore, focus on discrimination in feedback. In addition, we look at discrimination and anonymity. Anonymity is a common feature online and is sometimes used as a strategy to circumvent discrimination. We construct a field experiment on eBay, where half of the sellers disclose their names in their usernames while the other half do not. eBay, however, automatically communicates the seller’s names to the buyer after the auction has ended. We find discrimination in feedback, but it only occurs when sellers had anonymous usernames, suggesting that anonymity as a fairness strategy might backfire.

Purpose:

Explore discrimination by gender and foreignness in buyer feedback online and how user anonymity can affect this possible dis

... Show more..

Language

English

Swedish

Time period(s) investigated

2012-04-30 — 2012-08-30

Geographic spread

Geographic location: Sweden

Unit of analysis

Population

Buyers on Swedish eBay

Sampling procedure

Other
The first part of the study used an audit method and the second part of the study used a randomized experiment.

Ethics Review

Stockholm — Ref. 2011/1328-31

Subject area

ECONOMICS (CESSDA Topic Classification)
Social Sciences (The Swedish standard of fields of research 2011)

Contact for questions about the data

Download metadata

Publications

A matter of transient anonymity: Discrimination by gender and foreignness in online auctions, in von Essen, E. (2013). Understanding unequal outcomes: Studies on gender, social status and foreignness (Doctoral dissertation, Department of Economics, Stockholm University).

If you have published anything based on these data, please notify us with a reference to your publication(s). If you are responsible for the catalogue entry, you can update the metadata/data description in DORIS.

Version 1.0

Download citation

To be or not to be anonymous guides discrimination in online reciprocal feedback

Citation

Emma von Essen. Stockholm University (2020). <em>To be or not to be anonymous guides discrimination in online reciprocal feedback</em>. Swedish National Data Service. Version 1.0. <a href="https://doi.org/10.5878/0w40-2q34">https://doi.org/10.5878/0w40-2q34</a>

Creator/Principal investigator(s)

Emma von Essen - Stockholm University, Department of Economics

Description

We construct a field experiment on eBay, where half of the sellers disclose their names in their usernames while the other half do not. eBay, however, automatically communicates the seller’s names to the buyer after the auction has ended. The seller names signal a combination of gender and foreignness (from a stereotypical Swedish perspective). We manually collected the data.

Data format / data structure

Numeric

Data collection

Time period(s) for data collection: 2012-04-30 — 2012-08-30

Source of the data: Communications, Population group

Time period(s) investigated

2012-04-30 — 2012-08-30

Variables

40

Published: 2020-02-28