Online sellers' offline environment : implications for platform strategy

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How does a seller's local environment affect their behavior on digital platforms? The digitization of the economy has drastically lowered the costs of data storage, access, and transmission. Leveraging digital technologies, platform companies such as Amazon and Airbnb have created online marketplaces that have extended an unprecedented level of market access to individual entrepreneurs, whom we often refer to as sellers. Much of the existing research on digital platforms shows that platforms can dictate sellers' behavior through a variety of reward and punishment mechanisms, e.g., search ranking algorithms and surge pricing. However, a great amount of variation in sellers' behavior can be attributed to factors in their local environment -- factors outside the platform's control. Upon closer examination, one may realize that local factors could potentially explain many perplexing seller actions faced by platforms and their engineers. For instance, why do Uber drivers protest surge pricing? Why do e-commerce sellers continue to sell counterfeit products despite strict regulation? Why do Airbnb hosts refuse to interact with users even with algorithms rewarding host-user interactions? In this dissertation, I argue that factors such as sellers' cultural customs, local interactions, and perception of the law may serve to explain many of their behavioral patterns. These factors strongly affect sellers' behavior on digital platforms. Their behavior, in turn, influences a platform's growth trajectory and contains major social implications. Therefore, it is important for both platform designers and policymakers to pay attention to sellers' heterogeneous local environments in order to anticipate sellers' behavior, create appropriate designs, and devise sound policy.


Type of resource text
Form electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
Extent 1 online resource.
Place California
Place [Stanford, California]
Publisher [Stanford University]
Copyright date 2018; ©2018
Publication date 2018; 2018
Issuance monographic
Language English


Author Koo, Wesley Wu-Yi
Degree supervisor Eesley, Charles
Thesis advisor Eesley, Charles
Thesis advisor Eisenhardt, Kathleen M
Thesis advisor Katila, Riitta
Degree committee member Eisenhardt, Kathleen M
Degree committee member Katila, Riitta
Associated with Stanford University, Department of Management Science and Engineering.


Genre Theses
Genre Text

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility Wesley Wu-Yi Koo.
Note Submitted to the Department of Management Science and Engineering.
Thesis Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2018.
Location electronic resource

Access conditions

© 2018 by Wesley Wu-Yi Koo

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