Crowdsourcing Market Information from Competitors

41 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2020 Last revised: 8 Apr 2020

See all articles by Joann F. de Zegher

Joann F. de Zegher

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Management Science (MS)

Irene Lo


Date Written: February 13, 2020


Access to accurate market information is critical for sound decision-making, but is currently missing for many decision-makers in developing countries. Rapid growth in mobile phone adoption presents an unprecedented opportunity to disseminate market information. A key challenge, however, is how to source market information efficiently when it does not exist in a central repository and, instead, is privately held by a crowd of competing market participants. We develop a method for constructing non-monetary, incentive-compatible mechanisms for competing market participants to share market information with a centralized information-sharing platform. Our mechanism rewards the sharing of information with access to future information, and incentivizes participation by controlling what information the platform discloses to each participant; it balances, for each participant, the benefit from access to information shared by others and loss from sharing valuable information. The mechanism acts as a commitment device, and by benefiting only participants who share, supports sharing as a focal subgame perfect Nash equilibrium. We derive theoretical properties of this class of policies and propose a heuristic based on these policies for use in practice. Our model is informed by an information-sharing platform for informal palm oil supply chains in rural Indonesia.

Keywords: mechanism design for social good, information-sharing, operations in developing countries

Suggested Citation

de Zegher, Joann F. and Lo, Irene, Crowdsourcing Market Information from Competitors (February 13, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Joann F. De Zegher (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Management Science (MS) ( email )

United States

Irene Lo

Stanford ( email )

United States

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