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Engineering Trust - Reciprocity in the Production of Reputation Information


  • Gary Bolton
  • Ben Greiner
  • Axel Ockenfels


Reciprocity in feedback giving distorts the production and content of reputation information in a market, hampering trust and trade efficiency. Guided by feedback patterns observed on eBay and other platforms we run laboratory experiments to investigate how reciprocity can be managed by changes in the way feedback information flows through the system, leading to more accurate reputation information, more trust and more efficient trade. We discuss the implications for theory building and for managing the redesign of market trust systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Bolton & Ben Greiner & Axel Ockenfels, 2009. "Engineering Trust - Reciprocity in the Production of Reputation Information," Working Paper Series in Economics 42, University of Cologne, Department of Economics, revised 22 Jan 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0042

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    More about this item


    market design; reputation; trust; reciprocity; eBay;

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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