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Selling Reputation When Going out of Business

Author

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  • Hendrik Hakenes
  • Martin Peitz

Abstract

Is the reputation of a firm tradeable when the previous owner has to retire even though ownership change is observable? We consider a competitive market in which a share of owners must retire in each period. New owners, observing only recent profits, bid for the firms on sale. Customers are concerned with the owners’ type, which reflects the quality of the good or service provided. When a customer observes an ownership change, he may have an incentive to switch to a different firm even if his past experience was good. However, we show that, in equilibrium, customers believe that also the new owner is of the good type. Hence reputation is tradeable, although ownership change is observable. In our model, reputation is an intangible asset, embodied in an attractive customer base. Firms owned by a good type sell at a premium.

Suggested Citation

  • Hendrik Hakenes & Martin Peitz, 2004. "Selling Reputation When Going out of Business," CESifo Working Paper Series 1213, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1213
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Andersson, Fredrik, 2002. "Pooling reputations," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 715-730, May.
    2. Luis M.B. Cabral, 2000. "Stretching Firm and Brand Reputation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 658-673, Winter.
    3. 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.
    4. Gschwend, Thomas, 2004. "Ticket-Splitting and Strategic Voting," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 05-06, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    5. Ausubel, Lawrence M. & Cramton, Peter & Deneckere, Raymond J., 2002. "Bargaining with incomplete information," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications,in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 50, pages 1897-1945 Elsevier.
    6. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, 2001. "Who Wants a Good Reputation?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 415-441.
    7. Aumann, Robert J. & Heifetz, Aviad, 2002. "Incomplete information," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications,in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 43, pages 1665-1686 Elsevier.
    8. Jay Pil Choi, 1998. "Brand Extension as Informational Leverage," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(4), pages 655-669.
    9. Steven Tadelis, 2003. "Firm reputation with hidden information," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 21(2), pages 635-651, March.
    10. Arthur Fishman & Rafael Rob, 2002. "Is Bigger Better? Investing in Reputation," Penn CARESS Working Papers 40893328535d25cf3e69a981a, Penn Economics Department.
    11. Carl Shapiro, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-679.
    12. Steven Tadelis, 2002. "The Market for Reputations as an Incentive Mechanism," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 854-882, August.
    13. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-641, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    reputation; ownership change; intangible asset; theory of the firm;

    JEL classification:

    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General

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