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University of Southern California

1. Wang, Jin. Essays on quality screening in two-sided markets.

Degree: PhD, Economics, 2015, University of Southern California

In two-sided markets, consumers care not only about the number of sellers with which they can interact, but also about the quality of products or services these sellers provide. Previous work on two-sided markets has mainly focused on the quantity externality; Little attention has been paid to the quality externality. In this dissertation, I allow both quality and quantity play a role in the end-users' interactions, and analyze how platforms can use quality screening to alleviate the problem of asymmetric information of quality and motivate end-users' participations; and discuss how a platform can implement quality screening and choose optimal quality standard. ❧ The first essay examines the impact of quality screening on end-users' choices in a context of competitive platforms. The analysis proceeds from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. In the theory, I build a model in which two platforms compete but only one of them screens sellers' products. I show that the quality screening influences consumers' expectations of product quality and their choice of sellers and platforms. The resulting screening effect, together with the network and competition effects, further drives sellers to enter different platforms. Comparative static analysis indicates that sellers' incentives to join the platform that screens products follow an inverted U-curve with respect to the observable quality of products. In the empirical study, I transfer the theory to a simultaneous entry game with incomplete information, and carry out the estimation using the Nested Pseudo Likelihood (NPL) estimator with the data from Tmall and Taobao, two online trading platforms operated by Alibaba. The estimation results are consistent with the theory. The counterfactual analysis suggests that quality screening improves the consumers' utility and enlarges Alibaba's market share. ❧ In the second essay, I investigate the optimal thresholds of screening for end-users and the platform. I consider a monopoly platform which utilizes screening to select qualified products onto the market. I find that the platform's profitably optimal screening standard falls below the one that maximizes the consumers' welfare. And the platform prefers to implement quality screening by just informing consumers of the threshold instead of by fully revealing the products' true quality. Advisors/Committee Members: Tan, Guofu (Committee Chair), Ridder, Geert (Committee Member), Dukes, Anthony (Committee Member).

Subjects/Keywords: asymmetric information; quality screening; two-sided markets; duopoly platform competition; discrete choice game; structural estimation; monopoly platform; optimal quality standard

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APA (6th Edition):

Wang, J. (2015). Essays on quality screening in two-sided markets. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Southern California. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Wang, Jin. “Essays on quality screening in two-sided markets.” 2015. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Southern California. Accessed September 21, 2020.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Wang, Jin. “Essays on quality screening in two-sided markets.” 2015. Web. 21 Sep 2020.


Wang J. Essays on quality screening in two-sided markets. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Southern California; 2015. [cited 2020 Sep 21]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Wang J. Essays on quality screening in two-sided markets. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Southern California; 2015. Available from: