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Consumer Networks and Firm Reputation: A First Experimental Investigation

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  • Huck, Steffen
  • Lünser, Gabriele
  • Tyran, Jean-Robert

Abstract

Arguing that consumers are the carriers of firms’ reputations, we examine the role of consumer networks for trust in markets that suffer from moral hazard. When consumers are embedded in a network, they can exchange information with their neighbours about their private experiences with different sellers. We find that such information exchange fosters firms' incentives for reputation building and, thus, enhances trust and efficiency in markets. This efficiency-enhancing effect is already achieved with a rather low level of network density.

Suggested Citation

  • Huck, Steffen & Lünser, Gabriele & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2008. "Consumer Networks and Firm Reputation: A First Experimental Investigation," CEPR Discussion Papers 6624, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6624
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Falk Armin & Kosfeld Michael, 2012. "It's all about Connections: Evidence on Network Formation," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-36, September.
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    4. Gary E. Bolton & Elena Katok & Axel Ockenfels, 2004. "How Effective Are Electronic Reputation Mechanisms? An Experimental Investigation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(11), pages 1587-1602, November.
    5. Iris Bohnet & Steffen Huck, 2004. "Repetition and Reputation: Implications for Trust and Trustworthiness When Institutions Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 362-366, May.
    6. Huck, Steffen & Lünser, Gabriele K. & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2012. "Competition fosters trust," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 195-209.
    7. Bohnet, Iris & Croson, Rachel, 2004. "Trust and trustworthiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 443-445, December.
    8. Brit Grosskopf & Rajiv Sarin, 2010. "Is Reputation Good or Bad? An Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2187-2204, December.
    9. 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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    Cited by:

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    2. Dulleck, Uwe & Johnston, David W. & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Sutter, Matthias, 2012. "The Good, the Bad and the Naive: Do Fair Prices Signal Good Types or Do They Induce Good Behaviour?," IZA Discussion Papers 6491, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Fehr, Dietmar & Sutter, Matthias, 2019. "Gossip and the efficiency of interactions," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 448-460.
    4. Brosig, Jeannette & Heinrich, Timo, 2011. "Reputation and Mechanism Choice in Procurement Auctions – An Experiment," Ruhr Economic Papers 254, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    5. Beck, Adrian & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Qiu, Jianying & Sutter, Matthias, 2010. "Guilt from Promise-Breaking and Trust in Markets for Expert Services – Theory and Experiment," Working Papers in Economics 436, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    6. Beck, Adrian & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Qiu, Jianying & Sutter, Matthias, 2013. "Shaping beliefs in experimental markets for expert services: Guilt aversion and the impact of promises and money-burning options," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 145-164.
    7. Grimm, Veronika & Mengel, Friederike, 2011. "Matching technology and the choice of punishment institutions in a prisoner's dilemma game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 333-348, May.
    8. Greiff, Matthias & Paetzel, Fabian, 2020. "Information about average evaluations spurs cooperation: An experiment on noisy reputation systems," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 334-356.
    9. Loukas Balafoutas & Adrian Beck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2014. "The Hidden Costs of Tax Evasion - Collaborative Tax Evasion in Markets for Expert Services," Working Papers 2014-01, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
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    11. Balafoutas, Loukas & Beck, Adrian & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Sutter, Matthias, 2015. "The hidden costs of tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 14-25.
    12. Jeanette Brosig & Timo Heinrich, 2011. "Reputation and Mechanism Choice in Procurement Auctions – An Experiment," Ruhr Economic Papers 0254, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    consumer network; information conditions; moral hazard; reputation; trust;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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