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Image Building

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  • B. Curtis Eaton

    (University of Calgary)

  • William D. White

Abstract

We humans engage in a lot of costuming that can often be interpreted as type communication. Uniforms are the obvious example (cops on the beat, for example, wear uniforms because they want us to know that they are cops), but there are many other examples. This paper models costuming, or image building, as type communication. At the heart of the analysis is a model of social interaction in which information concerning the type of the people with whom we interact is mutually valuable - that is, valuable to them and to us. We first examine the equilibria of an image building game in which players choose their costumes and then engage in a series of social interactions in which their costumes might serve as type signals. Obviously, there are as many perfect signaling equilibria as there are ways to assign costumes to player types, so the image building game has a very nasty coordination problem. We look at two ways in which this problem might be solved. First we look for salient, history dependent costume replacement strategies in a dynamic image building game with imperfectly durable costumes. Then we examine the possibility that the firms who make and sell costumes can solve the coordination problem through image advertising. Image advertising as we conceive of it has a number of interesting features that distinguish it from other forms of advertising.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Calgary in its series Working Papers with number 2008-30.

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Date of creation: 28 Jan 2008
Date of revision: 28 Jan 2008
Handle: RePEc:clg:wpaper:2008-30

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  1. Nelson, Philip, 1974. "Advertising as Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 729-54, July/Aug..
  2. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
  3. Arifovic, J. & Eaton, C., 1994. "Coordination via Genetic Learning," Discussion Papers dp94-11, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
  4. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Riordan, Michael H, 1984. "Advertising as a Signal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 427-50, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Clemens, Christiane & Riechmann, Thomas, 1996. "Evolutionäre Optimierungsverfahren und ihr Einsatz in der ökonomischen Forschung," Diskussionspapiere der Wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Leibniz Universität Hannover dp-195, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.

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