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Reputation Transmission without Benefit to the Reporter: a Behavioral Underpinning of Markets in Experimental Focus

Listed author(s):
  • Kenju Kamei
  • Louis Putterman

Reputation is a commonly cited check on opportunism in economic and social interactions. But it is often unclear what would motivate an agent to report another’s behavior when the pool of potential partners is large and it is easy enough for an aggrieved player to move on. We argue that behavioral or social preference motivations may solve this conundrum. In a laboratory experiment in which subjects lack any private material incentive to report partners’ actions, we find that most cooperators incur a cost to report a defecting partner when this has the potential to deprive the latter of future gains and to help his next partner.

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File URL: http://www.brown.edu/academics/economics/sites/brown.edu.academics.economics/files/uploads/2015-9_paper.pdf
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Paper provided by Brown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2015-9.

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Date of creation: 2015
Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2015-9
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Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

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  1. Ben-Ner, Avner & Putterman, Louis, 2009. "Trust, communication and contracts: An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 70(1-2), pages 106-121, May.
  2. Peter Duersch & Maroš Servátka, 2009. "Punishment with Uncertain Outcomes in the Prisoner’s Dilemma," Working Papers 0485, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
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  5. Ertan, Arhan & Page, Talbot & Putterman, Louis, 2009. "Who to punish? Individual decisions and majority rule in mitigating the free rider problem," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(5), pages 495-511, July.
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  8. Palfrey, Thomas R & Prisbrey, Jeffrey E, 1997. "Anomalous Behavior in Public Goods Experiments: How Much and Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 829-846, December.
  9. Dal Bó, Ernesto & Dal Bó, Pedro, 2014. "“Do the right thing:” The effects of moral suasion on cooperation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 28-38.
  10. Kamei, Kenju, 2014. "Conditional punishment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(2), pages 199-202.
  11. Wang Zhongmin, 2010. "Anonymity, Social Image, and the Competition for Volunteers: A Case Study of the Online Market for Reviews," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-35, May.
  12. Colin F. Camerer & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "Anomalies: Ultimatums, Dictators and Manners," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 209-219, Spring.
  13. Kristina Shampanier & Nina Mazar & Dan Ariely, 2007. "Zero as a Special Price: The True Value of Free Products," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(6), pages 742-757, 11-12.
  14. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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