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Group reputations: An experimental foray

  • Huck, Steffen
  • Lünser, Gabriele K.

Often information structures are such that while individual reputation building is impossible groups of agents would have the opportunity of building up a reputation. We experimentally examine whether groups of sellers in markets that suffer from moral hazard are able to build up reputations and, thus, avoid market breakdown. We contrast our findings with situations where sellers alternatively can build up an individual reputation or where there are no possibilities for reputation building at all. Our results offer a comparatively optimistic outlook on group reputations as long as groups are small. Even though sellers only receive some of the reputation benefits of withstanding short-run incentives to exploit trust, they are able to overcome the dilemma and successfully exploit the information structure. However, the ability to build successful group reputations depends on group size with trust breaking down in larger groups.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 73 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 153-157

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:73:y:2010:i:2:p:153-157
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  1. Isaac, R Mark & Walker, James M, 1988. "Group Size Effects in Public Goods Provision: The Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(1), pages 179-99, February.
  2. Tirole, Jean, 1996. "A Theory of Collective Reputations (with Applications to the Persistence of Corruption and to Firm Quality)," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 1-22, January.
  3. Andreoni, J. & Miller, J.H., 1991. "Rational Cooperative in the Finitely Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma: Experimental Evidence," Working papers 9102, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  4. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  5. 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.
  6. Camerer, Colin & Weigelt, Keith, 1988. "Experimental Tests of a Sequential Equilibrium Reputation Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 1-36, January.
  7. Iris Bohnet & Heike Harmgart & Steffen Huck & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2005. "Learning Trust," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 322-329, 04/05.
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