Reputation has often been proposed as the central mechanism that creates trust in the sharing economy. However, some sharing platforms that focus primarily on social rather than economically driven exchanges have managed to facilitate exchanges between users without the use of a reputation system. This could indicate that socially driven exchanges are in less need of reputation systems and that having sufficient trust is less problematic. We examine the effect of seller reputation on sales and price as proxies for trust, using a large dataset from a Dutch meal-sharing platform. This platform aims to stimulate social interactions between people via meal sharing. Multilevel regression analyses were used to test the association of reputation with trust. Our main empirical results are that reputation affects both sales and price positively, consistent with the existing reputation literature. We also found evidence of the presence of an information effect, i.e., the influence of reputation on sharing decreases when additional profile information is provided (e.g., a profile photo, a product description). Our results thus confirm the effectiveness of reputation in more socially driven exchanges also. Consequently, platform owners are advised to use reputation on their platform to increase sharing between its users.
Ter Huurne, M.; Ronteltap, A.; Guo, C.; Corten, R.; Buskens, V. Reputation Effects in Socially Driven Sharing Economy Transactions. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2674. https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/10/8/2674
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