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Seller Reputation and Trust in Pre-Trade Communication

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  • Bruno Jullien
  • In-Uck Park

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Abstract

We characterize the unique equilibrium in which high ability sellers always announce the quality of their items truthfully, in a repeated game model of experienced good markets with adverse selection on a seller's propensity to supply good quality items. In this equilibrium a seller's value function strictly increases in reputation and a seller's type is revealed within finite time. The analysis highlights a new reputation mechanism based on an endogenous complementarity the market places between a seller's honesty in pre-trade communication (trust) and his/her ability to deliver good quality (reputation). As maintaining honesty is less costly for high ability sellers who anticipate less “bad news” to disclose, they can signal their ability by communicating in a more trustworthy manner. Applying this model, we examine the extent to which consumer feedback systems foster trust in online markets, including the possibility that sellers may change identities or exit.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 11/272.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:11/272

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Keywords: cheap talk; consumer rating system; reputation; trust.;

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References

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  1. Cripps,M.W. & Mailath,G.J. & Samuelson,L., 2002. "Imperfect monitoring and impermanent reputations," Working papers 17, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  2. Ginger Zhe Jin & Andrew Kato, 2006. "Price, quality, and reputation: evidence from an online field experiment," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 983-1005, December.
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  4. Dellarocas, Chrysanthos, 2003. "The Digitization of Word-of-mouth: Promise and Challenges of Online Feedback Mechanisms," Working papers 4296-03, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
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  8. Jeffrey C. Ely & Juuso Valimaki, 2002. "Bad Reputation," Discussion Papers 1348, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  9. Melnik, Mikhail I & Alm, James, 2002. "Does a Seller's Ecommerce Reputation Matter? Evidence from eBay Auctions," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 337-49, September.
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  11. Patrick Bajari & Ali Horta�su, 2004. "Economic Insights from Internet Auctions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(2), pages 457-486, June.
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  15. Mathis, Jérôme & McAndrews, James & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2009. "Rating the raters: Are reputation concerns powerful enough to discipline rating agencies?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 657-674, July.
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  17. In-Uck Park, 2005. "Cheap-Talk Referrals of Differentiated Experts in Repeated Relationships," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(2), pages 391-411, Summer.
  18. Steven Tadelis, 1999. "What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 548-563, June.
  19. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:1:p:155-175 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Chrysanthos Dellarocas, 2003. "The Digitization of Word of Mouth: Promise and Challenges of Online Feedback Mechanisms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(10), pages 1407-1424, October.
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  23. Jeffrey A. Livingston, 2005. "How Valuable Is a Good Reputation? A Sample Selection Model of Internet Auctions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 453-465, August.
  24. Jullien, Bruno & Park, In-Uck, 2009. "New, Like New, or Very Good? Reputation and Credibility," TSE Working Papers 09-086, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised 29 Jan 2014.
  25. Ottaviani, Marco & Sorensen, Peter, 2001. "Information aggregation in debate: who should speak first?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 393-421, September.
  26. Heski Bar-Isaac, 2003. "Reputation and Survival: Learning in a Dynamic Signalling Model," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 231-251.
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Cited by:
  1. Saak, Alexander E., 2013. "Traceability and Reputation in Supply Chains," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 149988, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  2. Alessandro Ispano, 2013. "Information Acquisition and the Value of bad News," Working Papers 2013-36, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.

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