IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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


  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenju Kamei & Louis Putterman, 2015. "Reputation Transmission without Benefit to the Reporter: a Behavioral Underpinning of Markets in Experimental Focus," Working Papers 2015-9, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2015-9

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    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.
    3. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2010. "On inequity aversion: A reply to Binmore and Shaked," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 101-108, January.
    4. Urs Fischbacher & Simon Gachter, 2010. "Social Preferences, Beliefs, and the Dynamics of Free Riding in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 541-556, March.
    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.
    6. Carpenter, Jeffrey P., 2007. "The demand for punishment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 522-542, April.
    7. Ananish Chaudhuri, 2011. "Sustaining cooperation in laboratory public goods experiments: a selective survey of the literature," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(1), pages 47-83, March.
    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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Kamei, Kenju, 2016. "Information Disclosure and Cooperation in a Finitely-repeated Dilemma: Experimental Evidence," MPRA Paper 75100, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2015-9. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Brown Economics Webmaster). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.