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