The Impact of Socioeconomic and Cultural Differences on Online Trade

31 Pages Posted: 22 May 2018 Last revised: 20 Jul 2018

See all articles by Daniel W. Elfenbein

Daniel W. Elfenbein

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School

Raymond J. Fisman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Boston University

Brian McManus

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 6, 2018

Abstract

We use eBay data to investigate how trade in the U.S. is influenced by between-state differences in socioeconomic characteristics, tastes, and trust. States’ similarity in cultural characteristics (ethnicity, religiosity, and political behavior) is predictive of online trade patterns. This is partly due to correlation between cultural markers and consumers’ tastes. Consumers are also less likely to trade with dissimilar partners who lack extensive reputations or certification, which suggests that consumers infer seller trustworthiness from cultural similarity. There is no correlation between cultural similarity and buyer satisfaction, however, suggesting that perceived differences in trustworthiness are not validated by actual transactions.

Keywords: gravity model, ecommerce, trust, culture

Suggested Citation

Elfenbein, Daniel W. and Fisman, Raymond and McManus, Brian, The Impact of Socioeconomic and Cultural Differences on Online Trade (July 6, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3177072 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3177072

Daniel W. Elfenbein

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1156
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.elfenbein.net

Raymond Fisman (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Boston University ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Brian McManus

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Economics ( email )

Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
55
rank
351,338
Abstract Views
325
PlumX Metrics