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Consumer Networks and Firm Reputation: A First Experimental Investigation

  • Steffen Huck

    (University College London)

  • Gabriele K. Lünser

    (University College London)

  • Jean-Robert Tyran

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Arguing that consumers are the carriers of firms’ reputations, we examine the role of consumer networks for trust in markets that suffer from moral hazard. When consumers are embedded in a network, they can exchange information with their neighbours about their private experiences with different sellers. We find that such information exchange fosters firms' incentives for reputation building and, thus, enhances trust and efficiency in markets. This efficiency-enhancing effect is already achieved with a rather low level of network density.

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File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/english/research/publications/wp/2007/0728.pdf/
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Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 07-28.

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Length: 11 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0728
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  1. Iris Bohnet & Heike Harmgart & Steffen Huck & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2005. "Learning Trust," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 322-329, 04/05.
  2. Gary E. Bolton & Elena Katok & Axel Ockenfels, 2003. "How Effective are Electronic Reputation Mechanisms? An Experimental Investigation," Working Paper Series in Economics 3, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  3. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  4. Bohnet, Iris & Croson, Rachel, 2004. "Trust and trustworthiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 443-445, December.
  5. Falk, Armin & Kosfeld, Michael, 2003. "It's all about Connections: Evidence on Network Formation," IZA Discussion Papers 777, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Kosfeld Michael, 2004. "Economic Networks in the Laboratory: A Survey," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-23, March.
  7. Iris Bohnet & Steffen Huck, 2004. "Repetition and Reputation: Implications for Trust and Trustworthiness When Institutions Change," CREMA Working Paper Series 2004-09, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  8. Huck, Steffen & Lünser, Gabriele K. & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2012. "Competition fosters trust," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 195-209.
  9. Brit Grosskopf & Rajiv Sarin, 2010. "Is Reputation Good or Bad? An Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2187-2204, December.
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