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Observable Reputation Trading


  • Hendrik Hakenes
  • Martin Peitz


Is the reputation of a firm tradable when the change in ownership is observable? We consider a competitive market in which a share of owners must retire in each period. New owners bid for the firms that are for sale. Customers learn the owner's type, which reflects the quality of the good or service provided, through experience. After observing an ownership change they may want to switch firms. However, in equilibrium, good new owners buy from good old owners and retain high-value customers. Hence reputation is a tradable intangible asset, although ownership change is observable. Copyright 2007 by the Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Hendrik Hakenes & Martin Peitz, 2007. "Observable Reputation Trading," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(2), pages 693-730, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:48:y:2007:i:2:p:693-730

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Steven Tadelis, 1999. "What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 548-563, June.
    2. Jean Tirole, 1996. "A Theory of Collective Reputations (with applications to the persistence of corruption and to firm quality)," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(1), pages 1-22.
    3. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, 2001. "Who Wants a Good Reputation?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 415-441.
    4. Luis M.B. Cabral, 2000. "Stretching Firm and Brand Reputation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 658-673, Winter.
    5. Arthur Fishman & Rafael Rob, 2002. "Is Bigger Better? Investing in Reputation," Penn CARESS Working Papers 40893328535d25cf3e69a981a, Penn Economics Department.
    6. Jay Pil Choi, 1998. "Brand Extension as Informational Leverage," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(4), pages 655-669.
    7. Klemperer, Paul, 1992. "Competition When Consumers Have Switching Costs: An Overview," CEPR Discussion Papers 704, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. 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.
    9. Alan D. Morrison & William J. Wilhelm Jr, 2004. "Partnership Firms, Reputation, and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1682-1692, December.
    10. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Luís Almeida Costa & Luís Vasconcelos, 2010. "Share the Fame or Share the Blame? The Reputational Implications of Partnerships," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(2), pages 259-301, June.
    2. Jeanine Miklós-Thal, 2012. "Linking reputations through umbrella branding," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 335-374, September.
    3. Joyee Deb, 2012. "Observability and Sorting in a Market for Names," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(2), pages 301-338, June.
    4. Max Blouin & Jean-Marc Bourgeon, 2008. "Practices (revised)," Cahiers de recherche 0805, CIRPEE.
    5. Max Blouin & Jean-Marc Bourgeon, 2008. "Practices," Working Papers hal-00360512, HAL.
    6. Bernardita Vial & Felipe Zurita, 2013. "Reputation-Driven Industry Dynamics," Documentos de Trabajo 436, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality


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