IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Reciprocity, Social Ties, and Competition in Markets for Experience Goods


  • Steffen Huck

    (University College London)

  • Jean-Robert Tyran

    (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen)


Reciprocal customers may disproportionately improve the performance of markets for experience goods. Reciprocal customers reward (punish) firms for providing good (bad) quality by upholding (terminating) the customer relation. This may induce firms to provide good quality which, in turn, may induce a positive externality for nonreciprocal customers who would, in the absence of reciprocal types, face market breakdown. This efficiency-enhancing effect of reciprocity is boosted when there are social ties between consumers and competition between firms. The existence of social ties or competition alone does not improve market performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Steffen Huck & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2004. "Reciprocity, Social Ties, and Competition in Markets for Experience Goods," Discussion Papers 04-12, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0412

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
    2. Renner, Elke & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2004. "Price rigidity in customer markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 575-593, December.
    3. Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
    4. Martin Brown & Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr, 2004. "Relational Contracts and the Nature of Market Interactions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 747-780, May.
    5. Weisbuch, Gerard & Kirman, Alan & Herreiner, Dorothea, 2000. "Market Organisation and Trading Relationships," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(463), pages 411-436, April.
    6. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce I. Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2003. "The Social Multiplier," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 345-353, 04/05.
    7. von Ungern-Sternberg, Thomas & von Weizsacker, Carl Christian, 1985. "The Supply of Quality on a Market for "Experience Goods."," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(4), pages 531-551, June.
    8. John G. Riley, 2001. "Silver Signals: Twenty-Five Years of Screening and Signaling," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 432-478, June.
    9. Harvey James, 2002. "The Trust Paradox: A Survey of Economic Inquiries Into the Nature of Trust and Trustworthiness," Microeconomics 0202001, EconWPA.
    10. Nelson, Phillip, 1970. "Information and Consumer Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 311-329, March-Apr.
    11. James Jr., Harvey S., 2002. "The trust paradox: a survey of economic inquiries into the nature of trust and trustworthiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 291-307, March.
    12. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2002. "Customer Anger at Price Increases, Time Variation in the Frequency of Price Changes and Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 9320, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Florian Baumann & Tim Friehe & Kristoffel Grechenig, 2010. "Switching Consumers and Product Liability: On the Optimality of Incomplete Strict Liability," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2010_03, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    2. Huck, Steffen & Lünser, Gabriele K. & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2012. "Competition fosters trust," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 195-209.
    3. Bauernschuster, Stefan & Falck, Oliver & Große, Niels, 2013. "When trustors compete for the favour of a trustee – A laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 133-147.
    4. Baumann, Florian & Friehe, Tim & Grechenig, Kristoffel, 2011. "A note on the optimality of (even more) incomplete strict liability," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 77-82, June.
    5. Sophie Bienenstock, 2016. "Consumer education: why the market doesn’t work," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 237-262, October.

    More about this item


    social networks; reputation; reciprocity; experience goods; customer loyalty;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0412. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Hoffmann). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.