Roles for Electronic Brokers
Resnick, Paul, Zeckhauser, Richard and Avery, Chris, "Roles for
Electronic Brokers," in Toward a Competitive Telecommunication
Industry: Selected Papers from the 1994 Telecommunications Policy
Research Conference, G. W. Brock, Ed. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
Associates, 1995, pp. 289-304.
Even when people have direct electronic connections to each other,
intermediaries, or electronic brokers, can play an important role.
For example, brokers can help consumers search for desired products,
perform name translation to protect privacy, and conduct auctions
with unbalanced budgets in order to promote efficient outcomes. We
first illustrate these possibilities with a concrete example, a
service that collects product evaluations from some people and uses
them to help other people select products. We discuss issues of
privacy, censorship, and incentives for participation that arise in
such a shared evaluation service. We then argue that the provision of
electronic brokering services in general should be decoupled from
information provision rather than vertically integrated.