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Consumer Networks and Firm Reputation: A First Experimental Investigation

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  • Steffen Huck

    (University College London)

  • Gabriele K. Lünser

    (University College London)

  • Jean-Robert Tyran

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Steffen Huck & Gabriele K. Lünser & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2007. "Consumer Networks and Firm Reputation: A First Experimental Investigation," Discussion Papers 07-28, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0728
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    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/english/research/publications/wp/2007/0728.pdf/
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Falk Armin & Kosfeld Michael, 2012. "It's all about Connections: Evidence on Network Formation," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(3), pages 1-36, September.
    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. Gary E. Bolton & Elena Katok & Axel Ockenfels, 2004. "How Effective Are Electronic Reputation Mechanisms? An Experimental Investigation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(11), pages 1587-1602, November.
    4. Iris Bohnet & Steffen Huck, 2004. "Repetition and Reputation: Implications for Trust and Trustworthiness When Institutions Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 362-366, May.
    5. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    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 & 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.
    8. Bohnet, Iris & Croson, Rachel, 2004. "Trust and trustworthiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 443-445, December.
    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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    Cited by:

    1. Grimm, Veronika & Mengel, Friederike, 2011. "Matching technology and the choice of punishment institutions in a prisoner's dilemma game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 333-348, May.
    2. Gaudeul, Alexia & Mathieu, Laurence & Peroni, Chiara, 2008. "Blogs and the Economics of Reciprocal Attention," MPRA Paper 11298, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Dulleck, Uwe & Johnston, David W. & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Sutter, Matthias, 2012. "The Good, the Bad and the Naive: Do Fair Prices Signal Good Types or Do They Induce Good Behaviour?," IZA Discussion Papers 6491, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Loukas Balafoutas & Adrian Beck & Rudolf Kerschbamer & Matthias Sutter, 2014. "The Hidden Costs of Tax Evasion - Collaborative Tax Evasion in Markets for Expert Services," Working Papers 2014-01, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    5. Beck, Adrian & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Qiu, Jianying & Sutter, Matthias, 2010. "Guilt from Promise-Breaking and Trust in Markets for Expert Services: Theory and Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 4827, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. repec:zbw:rwirep:0254 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Brosig, Jeannette & Heinrich, Timo, 2011. "Reputation and Mechanism Choice in Procurement Auctions – An Experiment," Ruhr Economic Papers 254, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    8. Balafoutas, Loukas & Beck, Adrian & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Sutter, Matthias, 2015. "The hidden costs of tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 14-25.
    9. Jeanette Brosig & Timo Heinrich, 2011. "Reputation and Mechanism Choice in Procurement Auctions – An Experiment," Ruhr Economic Papers 0254, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    10. Beck, Adrian & Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Qiu, Jianying & Sutter, Matthias, 2013. "Shaping beliefs in experimental markets for expert services: Guilt aversion and the impact of promises and money-burning options," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 145-164.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    trust; consumer networks; moral hazard; information conditions; reputation;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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