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What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset

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  • Steve Tadelis

Abstract

August 28, 1997 A firm's reputation is considered an important asset. I develop a model in which a firm's only asset is its name -- which is associated with its reputation -- and study the economic forces which cause names to be valuable, tradeable assets. A simple adverse selection model together with an assumption on the non-observability of shifts of ownership guarantees that in equilibrium the market for names is active. This result is robust to both finite and infinite horizons, in contrast to standard results in the reputation literature. I also show that situations in which only good types buy names with a good reputation cannot be sustained in equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • Steve Tadelis, 1997. "What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset," Working Papers 97033, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:stanec:97033
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, "undated". "Your Reputation Is Who You're Not, Not Who You'd Like To Be," Penn CARESS Working Papers bb1b279d6539c9ed3b83a027c, Penn Economics Department.
    3. Green, Edward J & Porter, Robert H, 1984. "Noncooperative Collusion under Imperfect Price Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 87-100, January.
    4. Jean Tirole, 1996. "A Theory of Collective Reputations (with applications to the persistence of corruption and to firm quality)," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(1), pages 1-22.
    5. Douglas Gale & Robert W. Rosenthal, 1994. "Price and Quality Cycles for Experience Goods," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(4), pages 590-607, Winter.
    6. Steven Tadelis, 2003. "Firm reputation with hidden information," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 21(2), pages 635-651, March.
    7. Fudenberg, Drew & Maskin, Eric, 1986. "The Folk Theorem in Repeated Games with Discounting or with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 533-554, May.
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    9. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-641, August.
    10. Diamond, Douglas W, 1989. "Reputation Acquisition in Debt Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 828-862, August.
    11. Birger Wernerfelt, 1988. "Umbrella Branding as a Signal of New Product Quality: An Example of Signalling by Posting a Bond," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 458-466, Autumn.
    12. Bengt Holmström, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 169-182.
    13. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
    14. Bengt Holmstrom, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 6875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • M21 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - Business Economics
    • M31 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Marketing

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