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Seller Reputation and Trust in Pre-Trade Communication

  • Bruno Jullien
  • In-Uck Park

    ()

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.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 11/272.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:11/272
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  1. Steve Tadelis, 1997. "What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset," Working Papers 97033, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  2. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, . ""Who Wants a Good Reputation?''," CARESS Working Papres 98-12, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
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  5. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:1:p:155-175 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Atkeson, Andrew & Hellwig, Christian & Ordoñez, Guillermo, 2014. "Optimal Regulation in the Presence of Reputation Concerns," CEPR Discussion Papers 10080, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Drew Fudenberg & David Levine, 1987. "Reputation and Equilibrium Selection in Games With a Patient Player," Working papers 461, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Cabral, Luís M B & Hortaçsu, Ali, 2004. "The Dynamics of Seller Reputation: Theory and Evidence from eBay," CEPR Discussion Papers 4345, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1997. "Predation, reputation , and entry deterrence," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1460, David K. Levine.
  10. Jeffrey C. Ely & Juuso Välimäki, 2003. "Bad Reputation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 785-814, August.
  11. Heski Bar-Isaac, 2003. "Reputation and Survival: Learning in a Dynamic Signalling Model," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 231-251, 04.
  12. Mathis, Jérôme & McAndrews, James & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2009. "Rating the raters: Are reputation concerns powerful enough to discipline rating agencies?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 657-674, July.
  13. Kreps, David M. & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Reputation and imperfect information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 253-279, August.
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  15. Andrew McLennan & In-Uck Park, 2003. "The Market for Liars: Reputation and Auditor Honesty," ISER Discussion Paper 0587, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  16. Stephen Morris, 1999. "Political Correctness," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1242, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  17. Ottaviani, Marco & Sorensen, Peter, 2001. "Information aggregation in debate: who should speak first?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 393-421, September.
  18. Guillermo Ordonez & Andrew Atkeson, 2009. "Optimal Regulation in the Presence of Reputation Concerns," 2009 Meeting Papers 830, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  19. Mailath, George J. & Samuelson, Larry, 2006. "Repeated Games and Reputations: Long-Run Relationships," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195300796, March.
  20. Benabou, R. & Laroque, G., 1988. "Using Privileged Information To Manipulate Markets: Insiders, Gurus And Credibility," Papers 19, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  21. 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.
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  23. Melnik, Mikhail I & Alm, James, 2002. "Does a Seller's Ecommerce Reputation Matter? Evidence from eBay Auctions," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 337-49, September.
  24. Ginger Zhe Jin & Andrew Kato, 2006. "Price, quality, and reputation: evidence from an online field experiment," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 983-1005, December.
  25. In-Uck Park, 2005. "Cheap-Talk Referrals of Differentiated Experts in Repeated Relationships," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(2), pages 391-411, Summer.
  26. Jeffrey A. Livingston, 2005. "How Valuable Is a Good Reputation? A Sample Selection Model of Internet Auctions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 453-465, August.
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