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When is Reputation Bad?

  • Jeffrey Ely
  • Drew Fudenberg
  • David K. Levine

In traditional reputation theory, reputation is good for the long-run player. In “Bad Reputation,” Ely and Valimaki give an example in which reputation is unambiguously bad. This paper characterizes a more general class of games in which that insight holds, and presents some examples to illustrate when the bad reputation effect does and does not play a role. The key properties are that participation is optional for the short-run players, and that every action of the long-run player that makes the short-run players want to participate has a chance of being interpreted as a signal that the long-run player is “bad. ” We also broaden the set of commitment types, allowing many types, including the “Stackelberg type” used to prove positive results on reputation. Although reputation need not be bad if the probability of the Stackelberg type is too high, the relative probability of the Stackelberg type can be high when all commitment types are unlikely.

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File URL: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/pub/hier/2004/HIER2035.pdf
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Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 2035.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:2035
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  1. D. Fudenberg & D. K. Levine, 1999. "Maintaining a Reputation when Strategies are Imperfectly Observed," Levine's Working Paper Archive 571, David K. Levine.
  2. Jeffrey C. Ely & Juuso Välimäki, 2003. "Bad Reputation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 785-814.
  3. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, . "Who Wants a Good Reputation?," Penn CARESS Working Papers a3e3219aee004bd237f8112f9, Penn Economics Department.
  4. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1995. "Reputation and Equilibrium Selection in Games with a Patient Player," Levine's Working Paper Archive 103, David K. Levine.
  5. Stephen Morris, 1999. "Political Correctness," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1242, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Levine, David & Fudenberg, Drew, 1994. "Efficiency and Observability with Long-Run and Short-Run Players," Scholarly Articles 3203774, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999. "Reputation and Imperfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 238, David K. Levine.
  8. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David I & Maskin, Eric, 1994. "The Folk Theorem with Imperfect Public Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 997-1039, September.
  9. Celentani, Marco, et al, 1996. "Maintaining a Reputation against a Long-Lived Opponent," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 691-704, May.
  10. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, . "Your Reputation Is Who You're Not, Not Who You'd Like To Be," Penn CARESS Working Papers bb1b279d6539c9ed3b83a027c, Penn Economics Department.
  11. Maskin, Eric & Kreps, David & Fudenberg, Drew, 1990. "Repeated Games with Long-run and Short-run Players," Scholarly Articles 3226950, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Sorin, Sylvain, 1999. "Merging, Reputation, and Repeated Games with Incomplete Information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 274-308, October.
  13. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1980. "Predation, Reputation, and Entry Deterrence," Discussion Papers 427, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  14. Drew Fudenberg & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Reputation in the Simultaneous Play of Multiple Opponents," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(4), pages 541-568.
  15. Marco Celentani & Drew Fudenberg & David K Levine & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2006. "Maintaining A Reputation Against A Patient Opponent," Levine's Working Paper Archive 699152000000000019, David K. Levine.
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