IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bla/jemstr/v10y2001i2p173-199.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Social Cost of Cheap Pseudonyms

Author

Listed:
  • Eric J. Friedman*
  • Paul Resnick

Abstract

We consider the problems of societal norms for cooperation and reputation when it is possible to obtain cheap pseudonyms, something that is becoming quite common in a wide variety of interactions on the Internet. This introduces opportunities to misbehave without paying reputational consequences. A large degree of cooperation can still emerge, through a convention in which newcomers “pay their dues” by accepting poor treatment from players who have established positive reputations. One might hope for an open society where newcomers are treated well, but there is an inherent social cost in making the spread of reputations optional. We prove that no equilibrium can sustain significantly more cooperation than the dues‐paying equilibrium in a repeated random matching game with a large number of players in which players have finite lives and the ability to change their identities, and there is a small but nonvanishing probability of mistakes. Although one could remove the inefficiency of mistreating newcomers by disallowing anonymity, this is not practical or desirable in a wide variety of transactions. We discuss the use of entry fees, which permits newcomers to be trusted but excludes some players with low payoffs, thus introducing a different inefficiency. We also discuss the use of free but unreplaceable pseudonyms, and describe a mechanism that implements them using standard encryption techniques, which could be practically implemented in electronic transactions.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric J. Friedman* & Paul Resnick, 2001. "The Social Cost of Cheap Pseudonyms," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(2), pages 173-199, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:10:y:2001:i:2:p:173-199
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1430-9134.2001.00173.x
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1430-9134.2001.00173.x
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1111/j.1430-9134.2001.00173.x?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Drew Fudenberg & David Levine & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2008. "When Are Nonanonymous Players Negligible?," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Drew Fudenberg & David K Levine (ed.), A Long-Run Collaboration On Long-Run Games, chapter 6, pages 95-120, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    2. Glenn Ellison, 1994. "Cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma with Anonymous Random Matching," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 567-588.
    3. Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
    4. Paul R. Milgrom & Douglass C. North & Barry R. Weingast*, 1990. "The Role Of Institutions In The Revival Of Trade: The Law Merchant, Private Judges, And The Champagne Fairs," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(1), pages 1-23, March.
    5. Bajari, Patrick & Hortacsu, Ali, 2003. "The Winner's Curse, Reserve Prices, and Endogenous Entry: Empirical Insights from eBay Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 329-355, Summer.
    6. Carl Shapiro, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-679.
    7. 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 615-641, August.
    8. Oliver E. Williamson, 1976. "Franchise Bidding for Natural Monopolies -- in General and with Respect to CATV," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 7(1), pages 73-104, Spring.
    9. Kranton, Rachel E, 1996. "The Formation of Cooperative Relationships," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 214-233, April.
    10. Watson, Joel, 1999. "Starting Small and Renegotiation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 52-90, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. W. Bentley MacLeod, 2006. "Reputations, Relationships and the Enforcement of Incomplete Contracts," CESifo Working Paper Series 1730, CESifo.
    2. 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.
    3. Paul A. Pavlou & Angelika Dimoka, 2006. "The Nature and Role of Feedback Text Comments in Online Marketplaces: Implications for Trust Building, Price Premiums, and Seller Differentiation," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 17(4), pages 392-414, December.
    4. Luis Cabral & Ali Hortacsu, 2004. "The Dynamics of Seller Reputation: Theory and Evidence from eBay," NBER Working Papers 10363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Etro, Federico, 2017. "Research in economics and game theory. A 70th anniversary," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 1-7.
    6. David Martimort & Aggey Semenov & Lars Stole, 2017. "A Theory of Contracts with Limited Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 816-852.
    7. Sanchez-Pages Santiago & Straub Stéphane, 2010. "The Emergence of Institutions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-38, September.
    8. Gary E. Bolton & Elena Katok & Axel Ockenfels, 2004. "How Effective Are Electronic Reputation Mechanisms? An Experimental Investigation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(11), pages 1587-1602, November.
    9. Christopher Schlägel & Birgitta Wolff, 2007. "Country-Specific Effects of Reputation and Information: A Comparison of Online Auctions in Germany, the UK, and the US," FEMM Working Papers 07027, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    10. Eric Rasmusen, 2008. "Quality-Ensuring Profits," Working Papers 2008-10, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    11. Brosig, Jeannette & Heinrich, Timo, 2011. "Reputation and Mechanism Choice in Procurement Auctions – An Experiment," Ruhr Economic Papers 254, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    12. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, "undated". ""Your Reputation Is Who You're Not, Not Who You'd Like To Be''," CARESS Working Papres 98-11, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
    13. Chrysanthos Dellarocas, 2005. "Reputation Mechanism Design in Online Trading Environments with Pure Moral Hazard," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 16(2), pages 209-230, June.
    14. Cabral, Luís, 2016. "Media exposure and corporate reputation," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(4), pages 735-740.
    15. Dragan Filipovich, 2002. "Free Riding And Incentives To Invest In The Reputation Of An Anonymous Group," Remef - Revista Mexicana de Economía y Finanzas Nueva Época REMEF (The Mexican Journal of Economics and Finance), Instituto Mexicano de Ejecutivos de Finanzas, IMEF, vol. 1(1), pages 59-81, Marzo 200.
    16. Filip Vesely & Chun-Lei Yang, 2013. "On Optimal Social Convention in Voluntary Continuation Prisoner's Dilemma Games," CESifo Working Paper Series 4553, CESifo.
    17. Hardy, Robert Augustus & Norgaard, Julia R., 2016. "Reputation in the Internet black market: an empirical and theoretical analysis of the Deep Web," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 515-539, September.
    18. James M. Malcomson, 2012. "Relational Incentive Contracts," Introductory Chapters, in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.),The Handbook of Organizational Economics, Princeton University Press.
    19. Vincenzo Scoppa, 2003. "Contratti incompleti ed enforcement endogeno. Una rassegna della letteratura," Economia politica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 391-440.
    20. Ghidoni, Riccardo & Cleave, Blair L. & Suetens, Sigrid, 2019. "Perfect and imperfect strangers in social dilemmas," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 148-159.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:10:y:2001:i:2:p:173-199. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/journals/JEMS/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Wiley Content Delivery (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/journals/JEMS/ .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.