CCP Annual Conference 2015 Live Blogging Session 6: The Value of Information

Steve Tadelis (University of California, Berkeley, USA @BerkeleyHaas) talked about the challenges faced by market platforms in the presence of reputational externalities and biased feedback. Reputation mechanisms used by platform markets suffer from two problems. First, buyers may draw conclusions on the quality of the platform from single transactions, causing a reputational externality. Second, reputation measures may be coarse or biased, preventing buyers from making proper inferences.

Steve explored the limits of reputation mechanisms, their impacts on the marketplace, and ways in which a platform designer can mitigate these adverse impacts. By using an unobservable measure of seller quality, Steve demonstrated the benefits of the approach of a large-scale controlled experiment with eBay data. He claimed that platforms can benefit from identifying and promoting higher quality sellers. By highlighting the importance of reputational externalities, he also charted an agenda that aims to create more realistic models of platform markets.

Nick Anstead @NickAnstead (London School of Economics and Political Science) presented a paper that addresses a number of questions raised by the development of data-driven campaigning techniques. The recent General Election in the UK saw a very data-intensive campaign. Parties harvested massive amounts of information from both traditional and more modern sources, seeking to use them to better target the voters predicted to be more central to their success.

Nick revealed the source of the datasets used by political parties and he highlighted the reasons for the adoption of new methods. He discussed the effectiveness of the ways in which the parties used the data in the recent UK elections. Finally, he mentioned the effect of such methods on citizen participation and the quality of democracy.




About CCP
The Centre for Competition Policy (CCP) conducts interdisciplinary research into competition policy and regulation.

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