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Firm Reputation and Horizontal Integration

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  • Hongbin Cai
  • Ichiro Obara

Abstract

We study effects of horizontal integration on firm reputation. In an environment where customers observe only imperfect signals about firms' effort/quality choices, firms cannot maintain reputations of high quality and earn quality premium forever. Even when firms are choosing high quality/effort, there is always a possibility that a bad signal is observed. In this case, firms must give up their quality premium, at least temporarily, as punishment. A firm's integration decision is based on the extent to which integration attenuates this necessary cost of maintaining a good reputation. Horizontal integration leads to a larger market base for the merged firm and may allow better monitoring of the firm's choices, hence improving the punishment scheme for deviations. On the other hand, it gives the merged firm more room for sophisticated derivations. We characterize the optimal level of integration and provide sufficient conditions under which nonintegration dominates integration. We show that the optimal size of the firm is smaller when (1) trades are more frequent and information is disseminated more rapidly; or (2) the deviation gain is smaller than the honesty benefit; or (3) customer information about firm choices is more precise.

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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 122247000000002038.

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Date of creation: 21 Mar 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:122247000000002038

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References

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  2. Radner, Roy, 1985. "Repeated Principal-Agent Games with Discounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 53(5), pages 1173-98, September.
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  19. Luis M. B. Cabral, 2001. "Optimal Brand Umbrella Size," Working Papers, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics 01-06, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cabral, Luís M.B., 2009. "Umbrella branding with imperfect observability and moral hazard," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 206-213, March.
  2. Eric Rasmusen, 2011. "Leveraging of Reputation Through Umbrella Branding with and Without Market Power," Working Papers, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy 2011-07, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  3. Hendrik Hakenes & Martin Peitz, 2008. "Umbrella Branding and External Certification," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2008_10, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  4. Luis M. B. Cabral, 2001. "Optimal Brand Umbrella Size," Working Papers, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics 01-06, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  5. Kobayashi, Hajime & Ohta, Katsunori, 2012. "Optimal collusion under imperfect monitoring in multimarket contact," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 636-647.
  6. Du, Chuang, 2012. "Solving payoff sets of perfect public equilibria: an example," MPRA Paper 38622, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Hongbin Cai & Ichiro Obara, 2009. "Firm reputation and horizontal integration," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(2), pages 340-363.
  8. Chao Yang & Liansheng Wu & Xianhui Bo, 2010. "Career Concern and Tax Preparer Fraud," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 11(2), pages 355-379, November.
  9. Saak, Alexander, 2011. "Collective reputation, social norms, and participation:," IFPRI discussion papers, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 1107, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  10. Saak, Alexander E., 2013. "Traceability and Reputation in Supply Chains," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C., Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 149988, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  11. Fishman, Arthur, 2009. "Financial intermediaries as facilitators of information exchange between lenders and reputation formation by borrowers," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-305, March.
  12. Fishman, Arthur & Finkelshtain, Israel & Simhon, Avi & Yacouel, Nira, 2008. "The Economics of Collective Brands," Discussion Papers, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Agricultural Economics and Management 46056, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Department of Agricultural Economics and Management.

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