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Is Reputation Good or Bad? An Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Brit Grosskopf
  • Rajiv Sarin

Abstract

We investigate the impact of reputation in a laboratory experiment. We do so by varying whether the past choices of a long-run player are observable by the short-run players. Our framework allows for reputation to have either a beneficial or a harmful effect on the long-run player. We find that reputation is seldom harmful and its beneficial effects are not as strong as theory suggests. When reputational concerns are at odds with other-regarding preferences, we find th latter overwhelm the former. (JEL C91, D12, D82, D83, Z13)

Suggested Citation

  • Brit Grosskopf & Rajiv Sarin, 2010. "Is Reputation Good or Bad? An Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2187-2204, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:5:p:2187-2204
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cochard, Francois & Nguyen Van, Phu & Willinger, Marc, 2004. "Trusting behavior in a repeated investment game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 31-44, September.
    2. Camerer, Colin & Weigelt, Keith, 1988. "Experimental Tests of a Sequential Equilibrium Reputation Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 1-36, January.
    3. John A. List, 2006. "The Behavioralist Meets the Market: Measuring Social Preferences and Reputation Effects in Actual Transactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-37, February.
    4. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-1458, December.
    5. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    6. Brandts, Jordi & Figueras, Neus, 2003. "An exploration of reputation formation in experimental games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 89-115, January.
    7. Neral, John & Ochs, Jack, 1992. "The Sequential Equilibrium Theory of Reputation Building: A Further Test," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1151-1169, September.
    8. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jeffrey V. Butler & Enrica Carbone & Pierluigi Conzo & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2012. "Reputation and Entry," EIEF Working Papers Series 1215, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Nov 2012.
    2. Angelino Viceisza, 2007. "An experimental inquiry into the effect of yardstick competition on corruption," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2007-09, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    3. Luís Cabral & Lingfang (Ivy) Li, 2015. "A Dollar for Your Thoughts: Feedback-Conditional Rebates on eBay," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(9), pages 2052-2063, September.
    4. Wibral, Matthias, 2014. "Identity Changes and the Efficiency of Reputation Systems," IZA Discussion Papers 8216, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Mimra, Wanda & Rasch, Alexander & Waibel, Christian, 2016. "Price competition and reputation in credence goods markets: Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 337-352.
    6. Gary E. Bolton & David J. Kusterer & Johannes Mans, 2015. "Inflated reputations: Uncertainty, leniency & moral wiggle room in trader feedback systems," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 06-04, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences, revised 29 Jul 2016.
    7. Gary Bolton & Ben Greiner & Axel Ockenfels, 2013. "Engineering Trust: Reciprocity in the Production of Reputation Information," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(2), pages 265-285, January.
    8. Brit Grosskopf & Graeme Pearce, 2016. "Do you mind me paying less? Measuring Other-Regarding Preferences in the Market for Taxis," Natural Field Experiments 00556, The Field Experiments Website.
    9. Wibral, Matthias, 2014. "Identity changes and the efficiency of reputation systems," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 465, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    10. Li, Lingfang (Ivy) & Xiao, Erte, 2010. "Money Talks? An Experimental Study of Rebate in Reputation System Design," MPRA Paper 22401, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Huck, Steffen & Lünser, Gabriele K. & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2010. "Consumer networks and firm reputation: A first experimental investigation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 242-244, August.
    12. Schneider, Tim & Meub, Lukas & Bizer, Kilian, 2016. "Consumer information in a market for expert services: Experimental evidence," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 285, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    13. Matthias Wibral, 2015. "Identity changes and the efficiency of reputation systems," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(3), pages 408-431, September.
    14. Möllers, Claudia, 2016. "Reputation and foreclosure with vertical integration: Experimental evidence," DICE Discussion Papers 232, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    15. Rudolf Kerschbamer & Daniel Neururer & Alexander Gruber, 2017. "Do the altruists lie less?," Working Papers 2017-18, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck, revised 09 Nov 2017.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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