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When is Reputation Bad?

  • Levine, David
  • Ely, Jeffrey
  • Fudenberg, Drew

In traditional reputation models, the ability to build a reputation is good for the long-run player. In [Ely, J., Valimaki, J., 2003. Bad reputation. NAJ Econ. 4, 2; Quart. J. Econ. 118 (2003) 785–814], Ely and Valimaki give an example in which reputation is unambiguously bad. This paper characterizes a class of games in which that insight holds. The key to bad reputation is 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 allow a broad 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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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 3196337.

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Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Games and Economic Behavior
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:3196337
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  1. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K, 1989. "Reputation and Equilibrium Selection in Games with a Patient Player," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 759-78, July.
  2. Drew Fudenberg & David Kreps & Eric Maskin, 1988. "Repeated Games with Long-Run and Short-Run Players," Working papers 474, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Fudenberg, D., 1991. "Maintaining a Reputation when Strategies are Imperfectly Observed," Working papers 589, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, 2000. "Who Wants a Good Reputation?," CARESS Working Papres sell-rep, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  6. Jeffrey C. Ely & Juuso Valimaki, 2002. "Bad Reputation," Discussion Papers 1348, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1982. "Predation, reputation, and entry deterrence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 280-312, August.
  8. Celentani, Marco, et al, 1996. "Maintaining a Reputation against a Long-Lived Opponent," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 691-704, May.
  9. Fudenberg Drew & Levine David K., 1994. "Efficiency and Observability with Long-Run and Short-Run Players," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 103-135, February.
  10. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999. "Reputation and Imperfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 238, David K. Levine.
  11. Marco Celentani & Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1996. "Maintaining a Reputation against a Patient Opponent," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2015, David K. Levine.
  12. Mailath, George J & Samuelson, Larry, 2001. "Who Wants a Good Reputation? Erratum," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 714, July.
  13. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine & Eric Maskin, 1994. "The Folk Theorem with Imperfect Public Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2058, David K. Levine.
  14. Fudenberg, Drew & Kreps, David M, 1987. "Reputation in the Simultaneous Play of Multiple Opponents," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 541-68, October.
  15. Stephen Morris, 1999. "Political Correctness," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1242, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  16. Sorin, Sylvain, 1999. "Merging, Reputation, and Repeated Games with Incomplete Information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 274-308, October.
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