IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The value of recommendations


  • Miklós-Thal, Jeanine
  • Schumacher, Heiner


Many markets without repeated seller–buyer relations feature third-party “monitors” that sell recommendations. We analyze the profit-maximizing recommendation policies of such monitors. In an infinitely repeated game with seller moral hazard and short-lived consumers, a monopolistic monitor with superior information about the sellerʼs past effort decisions sells recommendations about the seller to consumers. We show that the monitor has an incentive to make its recommendations hard to predict, which in general leads to inefficient effort provision by the seller. These results hold under perfect and imperfect monitoring and in a variety of informational setting. When there are multiple competing sellers, the conflict between the monitorʼs profit-maximization objective and efficient effort provision is mitigated.

Suggested Citation

  • Miklós-Thal, Jeanine & Schumacher, Heiner, 2013. "The value of recommendations," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 132-147.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:79:y:2013:i:c:p:132-147
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2013.01.005

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Admati, Anat R & Pfleiderer, Paul, 1988. "Selling and Trading on Information in Financial Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 96-103, May.
    2. Dina Mayzlin & Yaniv Dover & Judith A. Chevalier, 2012. "Promotional Reviews: An Empirical Investigation of Online Review Manipulation," NBER Working Papers 18340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gershkov, Alex & Szentes, Balázs, 2009. "Optimal voting schemes with costly information acquisition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 36-68, January.
    4. Avinash Dixit, 2003. "On Modes of Economic Governance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(2), pages 449-481, March.
    5. Miyagawa, Eiichi & Miyahara, Yasuyuki & Sekiguchi, Tadashi, 2008. "The folk theorem for repeated games with observation costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 139(1), pages 192-221, March.
    6. Ben-Porath, Elchanan & Kahneman, Michael, 2003. "Communication in repeated games with costly monitoring," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 227-250, August.
    7. Flesch, János & Perea, Andrés, 2009. "Repeated games with voluntary information purchase," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 126-145, May.
    8. John Kennes & Aaron Schiff, 2007. "Simple Reputation Systems," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(1), pages 71-91, March.
    9. Kennes, John & Schiff, Aaron, 2008. "Quality infomediation in search markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 1191-1202, September.
    10. Eloïc Peyrache & Lucia Quesada, 2011. "Intermediaries, Credibility and Incentives to Collude," Post-Print hal-00637997, HAL.
    11. Biglaiser, Gary & Friedman, James W., 1994. "Middlemen as guarantors of quality," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 509-531, December.
    12. 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.
    13. Mailath, George J. & Samuelson, Larry, 2006. "Repeated Games and Reputations: Long-Run Relationships," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195300796, June.
    14. Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Information Revelation and Certification Intermediaries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 214-231, Summer.
    15. Albano, Gian Luigi & Lizzeri, Alessandro, 2001. "Strategic Certification and Provision of Quality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(1), pages 267-283, February.
    16. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-1451, November.
    17. Strausz, Roland, 2005. "Honest certification and the threat of capture," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 45-62, February.
    18. 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.
    19. Admati, Anat R. & Pfleiderer, Paul, 1986. "A monopolistic market for information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 400-438, August.
    20. Gary Biglaiser, 1993. "Middlemen as Experts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(2), pages 212-223, Summer.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:indorg:v:56:y:2018:i:c:p:26-48 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Eric Schmidbauer, 2016. "New and Improved?," Working Papers 2016-02, University of Central Florida, Department of Economics.
    3. Belleflamme,Paul & Peitz,Martin, 2015. "Industrial Organization," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107687899, March.
    4. Saak, Alexander E., 2016. "The Value of Delegated Quality Control and Market Size with an Application to Kyrgyzstan Dairy," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235707, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

    More about this item


    Repeated games; Moral hazard; Imperfect monitoring; Information sellers;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality


    Access and download statistics


    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:eee:gamebe:v:79:y:2013:i:c:p:132-147. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    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 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.

    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.