When the Stars Shine Too Bright: The Influence of Multidimensional Ratings on Online Consumer Ratings
Management Science, Forthcoming
64 Pages Posted: 19 May 2020
Date Written: March 18, 2020
Scholars generally assume that consumer ratings reflect consumer satisfaction, but ratings can be influenced by the design of the rating system. We examine two rating designs — single-dimensional (SD) rating systems, which elicit overall ratings only, and multidimensional (MD) rating systems, which elicit both dimensional and overall ratings — and how they impact overall ratings. Drawing on the accessibility-diagnosticity framework, we argue that dimensional ratings in MD systems influence overall ratings based on how the dimensions have been rated. We support this explanation with seven experiments. Our results suggest that overall ratings are systematically influenced by the design of the rating system — across various experimental settings, rating objects, dimensions, and numbers of dimensions.
Keywords: online ratings, biases, accessibility-diagnosticity framework, experiments
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