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Seller Reputation and Trust in Pre-Trade Communication

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  • Bruno Jullien
  • In-Uck Park

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Abstract

We characterize the unique equilibrium in which high ability sellers always announce the quality of their items truthfully, in a repeated game model of experienced good markets with adverse selection on a seller's propensity to supply good quality items. In this equilibrium a seller's value function strictly increases in reputation and a seller's type is revealed within finite time. The analysis highlights a new reputation mechanism based on an endogenous complementarity the market places between a seller's honesty in pre-trade communication (trust) and his/her ability to deliver good quality (reputation). As maintaining honesty is less costly for high ability sellers who anticipate less “bad news” to disclose, they can signal their ability by communicating in a more trustworthy manner. Applying this model, we examine the extent to which consumer feedback systems foster trust in online markets, including the possibility that sellers may change identities or exit.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno Jullien & In-Uck Park, 2011. "Seller Reputation and Trust in Pre-Trade Communication," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 11/272, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:11/272
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Saak, Alexander E., 2016. "Traceability and reputation in supply chains," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 149-162.
    2. Alessandro Ispano, 2013. "Information acquisition and the value of bad news," Working Papers 2013-36, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    3. Bruno Jullien & In-Uck Park, 2009. "Seller Reputation and Trust in Pre-Trade Communication," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000330, David K. Levine.
    4. Heinrich, Timo, 2012. "Communication and reputation in procurement auctions — Some empirical evidence," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 164-167.
    5. Jolivet, Grégory & Jullien, Bruno & Postel-Vinay, Fabien, 2016. "Reputation and prices on the e-market: Evidence from a major French platform," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 59-75.
    6. repec:zbw:rwirep:0253 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Grégory Jolivet & Bruno Jullien & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2014. "Reputation and Pricing on the e-Market: Evidence from a Major French Platform," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/4firg7dmo68, Sciences Po.
    8. Timo Heinrich, 2011. "Communication and Reputation in Procurement Auctions – Some Empirical Evidence," Ruhr Economic Papers 0253, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cheap talk; consumer rating system; reputation; trust.;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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