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Incentives Can Reduce Bias in Online Reviews

Ioana Marinescu (), Nadav Klein (), Andrew Chamberlain () and Morgan Smart ()

Working Papers from eSocialSciences

Abstract: Online reviews are a powerful means of propagating the reputations of products, services, and even employers. However, existing research suggests that online reviews often suffer from selection bias—people with extreme opinions are more motivated to share them than people with moderate opinions, resulting in biased distributions of reviews. Providing incentives for reviewing has the potential to reduce this selection bias, because incentives can mitigate the motivational deficit of people who hold moderate opinions. Using data from one of the leading employer review companies, Glassdoor, the paper shows that voluntary reviews have a different distribution from incentivized reviews. The likely bias in the distribution of voluntary reviews can affect workers’ choice of employers, because it changes the ranking of industries by average employee satisfaction.

Keywords: eSS; online reviews; reputations; products; services; employers; selection bias; opinions; incentives; motivational deficit; moderate opinions; employer review companies; Glassdoor; voluntary reviews; incentivized reviews; workers’ choice; ranking of industries; employee satisfaction. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-03
Note: Institutional Papers
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