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Your reputation is who you're not, not who you'd like to be

Author

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  • Mailath,G.J.
  • Samuelson,L.

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Social Systems Research Institute)

Abstract

We construct a model in which a firm's reputation must be built gradually, is managed, and dissipates gradually unless appropriately maintained. Consumers purchase an experience good from a firm whose unobserved effort affects the probability distribution of consumer utilities. Consumers observe private, noisy signals (consumer utilities) of the behavior of the firm, yielding a game of imperfect private monitoring} The standard approach to reputations introduces some "good" or "Stackelberg" firms into the model, with consumers ignorant of the type of the firm they face and with ordinary firms acquiring their reputations by masquerading as Stackelberg firms. In contrast, the key ingredient of our reputation model is the continual possibility that the ordinary or "competent" firm might be replaced by a "bad" or "inept" firm who never chooses the Stackelberg action. Competent firms then acquire their reputations by convincing consumers that they are not inept. Building a reputation is an exercise in separating oneself from inept firms who one is not, rather than pooling with Stackelberg firms who one would like to be. We investigate how a firm manages such a reputation, showing, among other features, that a competent firm may not always choose the most efficient effort level to distinguish itself from an inept one.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Mailath,G.J. & Samuelson,L., 1998. "Your reputation is who you're not, not who you'd like to be," Working papers 18, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  • Handle: RePEc:att:wimass:199818
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    File URL: http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/econ/archive/wp9818.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. George J. Mailath & Stephen Morris, "undated". ""Repeated Games with Imperfect Private Monitoring: Notes on a Coordination Perspective''," CARESS Working Papres 98-07, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
    2. 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.
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    6. repec:wsi:wschap:9789812818478_0012 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Bhaskar, V. & van Damme, Eric, 2002. "Moral Hazard and Private Monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 16-39, January.
    8. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, 2001. "Who Wants a Good Reputation?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 415-441.
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    13. Drew Fudenberg & David M. Kreps & Eric S. Maskin, 1990. "Repeated Games with Long-run and Short-run Players," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(4), pages 555-573.
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    17. Sekiguchi, Tadashi, 1997. "Efficiency in Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma with Private Monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 345-361, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    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. Guillermo Ordonez, 2005. "Don't Ask Why Things Went Wrong: Nested Reputation and Scapegoating Inefficiency," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000988, David K. Levine.
    3. Bhaskar, V. & van Damme, Eric, 2002. "Moral Hazard and Private Monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 16-39, January.
    4. Jeffrey Ely & Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 2008. "When is reputation bad?," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: A Long-Run Collaboration On Long-Run Games, chapter 10, pages 177-205 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. Jeffrey C. Ely & Juuso Välimäki, 2003. "Bad Reputation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 785-814.
    6. Stephen Morris, 2001. "Political Correctness," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 231-265, April.
    7. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, 2001. "Who Wants a Good Reputation?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 415-441.
    8. 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.
    9. Compte, Olivier, 2002. "On Sustaining Cooperation without Public Observations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 106-150, January.
    10. Johannes Hörner, 2002. "Reputation and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 644-663, June.
    11. Guillermo Ordonez, 2008. "Essays on Learning and Macroeconomics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002250, David K. Levine.
    12. 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.
    13. Bernardita Vial, 2008. "Competitive Equilibrium and Reputation under Imperfect Public Monitoring," Documentos de Trabajo 327, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..

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    JEL classification:

    • C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General

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