Self-Preferencing at Amazon: Evidence from Search Rankings

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See all articles by Chiara Farronato

Chiara Farronato

Harvard University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Andrey Fradkin

Boston University - Questrom School of Business

Alexander MacKay

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Date Written: January 2023

Abstract

We study whether Amazon engages in self-preferencing on its marketplace by favoring its own brands (e.g., Amazon Basics) in search. To address this question, we collect new micro-level consumer search data using a custom browser extension installed by a panel of study participants. Using this methodology, we observe search positions, search behavior, and product characteristics. We find that Amazon branded products are indeed ranked higher than observably similar products in consumer search results. The prominence given to Amazon brands is 30% to 60% of the prominence granted to sponsored products.

Keywords: self-preferencing, e-commerce, digital platforms, antitrust, vertical integration

JEL Classification: L13, L15, L81, D12, D83

Suggested Citation

Farronato, Chiara and Fradkin, Andrey and MacKay, Alexander, Self-Preferencing at Amazon: Evidence from Search Rankings (January 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

Chiara Farronato

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Andrey Fradkin

Boston University - Questrom School of Business ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02215
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.andreyfradkin.com

Alexander MacKay (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Boston, MA 02163
United States

HOME PAGE: http://alexandermackay.org/

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