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When is Reputation Bad?

  • Jeffery Ely
  • Drew Fudenberg
  • David Levine

In traditional reputation theory, reputation is good for the long-run player. In "Bad Reputation," Ely and Valimaki give an example in which reputation is unambiguously bad. This paper characterizes a more general class of games in which that insight holds, and presents some examples to illustrate when the bad reputation effect does and does not play a role. The key properties are that participation is optional for the short-run players, and that every action of the long-run player that makes the short-run players want to participate has a chance of being interpreted as a signal that the long-run player is "bad. We also broaden the set of commitment types, allowing many types, including the "Stackelberg type" used to prove positive results on reputation. Although reputation need not be bad if the probability of the Stackelberg type is too high, the relative probability of the Stackelberg type can be high when all commitment types are unlikely.

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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1358.

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Date of creation: Oct 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1358
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  1. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, 1998. "Your Reputation Is Who You're Not, Not Who You'd Like To Be," CARESS Working Papres rep-is-sep, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  2. Levine, David & Fudenberg, Drew, 1994. "Efficiency and Observability with Long-Run and Short-Run Players," Scholarly Articles 3203774, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Marco Celentani & Drew Fudenberg & David K Levine & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2006. "Maintaining A Reputation Against A Patient Opponent," Levine's Working Paper Archive 699152000000000019, David K. Levine.
  4. Jeffrey C. Ely & Juuso Välimäki, 2003. "Bad Reputation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 785-814, August.
  5. D. Fudenberg & D. M. Kreps & E. Maskin, 1998. "Repeated Games with Long-run and Short-run Players," Levine's Working Paper Archive 608, David K. Levine.
  6. Stephen Morris, 1999. "Political Correctness," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1242, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Drew Fudenberg & David Levine, 1987. "Reputation and Equilibrium Selection in Games With a Patient Player," Working papers 461, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. D. Fudenberg & D. K. Levine, 1999. "Maintaining a Reputation when Strategies are Imperfectly Observed," Levine's Working Paper Archive 571, David K. Levine.
  9. Mailath,G.J. & Samuelson,L., 1998. "Who wants a good reputation?," Working papers 19, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  10. Mailath, George J & Samuelson, Larry, 2001. "Who Wants a Good Reputation? Erratum," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 714, July.
  11. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David I & Maskin, Eric, 1994. "The Folk Theorem with Imperfect Public Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 997-1039, September.
  12. Fudenberg, Drew & Kreps, David M, 1987. "Reputation in the Simultaneous Play of Multiple Opponents," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 541-68, October.
  13. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1982. "Predation, reputation, and entry deterrence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 280-312, August.
  14. David Kreps & Robert Wilson, 1999. "Reputation and Imperfect Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 238, David K. Levine.
  15. Celentani, Marco, et al, 1996. "Maintaining a Reputation against a Long-Lived Opponent," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 691-704, May.
  16. Sorin, Sylvain, 1999. "Merging, Reputation, and Repeated Games with Incomplete Information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 29(1-2), pages 274-308, October.
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