Reciprocity through ratings: An experimental study of bias in evaluations

Simon D Halliday, Jonathan Lafky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


This paper studies the potential for ratings of seller quality to be influenced by side payments to raters. In a laboratory setting, we find that even modest side payments from sellers to raters have large effects, with the type of rating (favorable or unfavorable) given to a seller determined primarily by how large a monetary transfer the seller makes to the rater. Our results demonstrate that side payments can crowd out a rater’s concern for buyers, even in situations where there is no potential for long-term relationship building.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


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