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Information Value and Externalities in Reputation Building - An Experimental Study

  • Gary E Bolton
  • Axel Ockenfels

In sequential equilibrium theory, reputation building is independent of whether the reputation builder is matched with one long-run player or a series of short run players. We observe, however, that reputation builders are significantly more challenged by long-run players in both laboratory chain store and buyer-seller games. Reputation builder behavior is not as unpredictable as required by the mixed equilibrium strategies and so information about the reputation builder’s past behavior has more economic value than equilibrium predicts. This in turn creates more incentives for long-run players to challenge the reputation builder, because they internalize the information externalities from the continuation game.

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File URL: http://ockenfels.uni-koeln.de/fileadmin/wiso_fak/stawi-ockenfels/pdf/wp_series_download/wp0035.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Cologne, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 35.

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Date of creation: 04 Aug 2007
Date of revision: 01 Aug 2008
Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0035
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  1. Chamley, Christophe & Gale, Douglas, 1994. "Information Revelation and Strategic Delay in a Model of Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 1065-85, September.
  2. repec:att:wimass:9102 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. 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.
  4. Andreoni, James A & Miller, John H, 1993. "Rational Cooperation in the Finitely Repeated Prisoner's Dilemma: Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(418), pages 570-85, May.
  5. Erev, Ido & Roth, Alvin E, 1998. "Predicting How People Play Games: Reinforcement Learning in Experimental Games with Unique, Mixed Strategy Equilibria," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 848-81, September.
  6. Brandts, Jordi & Figueras, Neus, 2003. "An exploration of reputation formation in experimental games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 89-115, January.
  7. Mark Walker & John Wooders, 2001. "Minimax Play at Wimbledon," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1521-1538, December.
  8. Shachat, Jason M., 2002. "Mixed Strategy Play and the Minimax Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 189-226, May.
  9. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
  10. McKelvey, Richard D & Palfrey, Thomas R, 1992. "An Experimental Study of the Centipede Game," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 803-36, July.
  11. Camerer, Colin & Weigelt, Keith, 1988. "Experimental Tests of a Sequential Equilibrium Reputation Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 1-36, January.
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