User Modeling 2005

Volume 3538 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 307-316

An Economic Model of User Rating in an Online Recommender System

  • F. Maxwell HarperAffiliated withCommunityLab, University of Minnesota
  • , Xin LiAffiliated withCommunityLab, University of Michigan
  • , Yan ChenAffiliated withCommunityLab, University of Michigan
  • , Joseph A. KonstanAffiliated withCommunityLab, University of Minnesota

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Economic modeling provides a formal mechanism to understand user incentives and behavior in online systems. In this paper we describe the process of building a parameterized economic model of user-contributed ratings in an online movie recommender system. We constructed a theoretical model to formalize our initial understanding of the system, and collected survey and behavioral data to calibrate an empirical model. This model explains 34% of the variation in user rating behavior. We found that while economic modeling in this domain requires an initial understanding of user behavior and access to an uncommonly broad set of user survey and behavioral data, it returns significant formal understanding of the activity being modeled.