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Selling Reputation When Going out of Business

  • Hakenes, Hendrik

    ()

    (Sonderforschungsbereich 504)

  • Peitz, Martin

    ()

    (International University in Germany)

Is the reputation of a firm tradeable when the previous owner has to retire even though ownership change is observable? We consider a competitive market in which a share of owners must retire in each period. New owners, observing only recent profits, bid for the firms that are for sale. Customers are concerned with the owners' type, which reflects the quality of the good or service provided. When a customer observes an ownership change, he may have an incentive to switch to a different firm, even if his past experience was good. However, we show that, in equilibrium, customers believe that the new owner is also good. Hence reputation is tradeable, although ownership change is observable. In our model, reputation is an intangible asset, embodied in an attractive customer base. Firms with good owners sell at a premium.

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Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim in its series Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications with number 04-52.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 26 Nov 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:04-52
Note: Financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged.
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  1. Steven Tadelis, 1999. "What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 548-563, June.
  2. Luis M.B. Cabral, 2000. "Stretching Firm and Brand Reputation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 658-673, Winter.
  3. George J. Mailath & Larry Samuelson, . "Who Wants a Good Reputation?," Penn CARESS Working Papers a3e3219aee004bd237f8112f9, Penn Economics Department.
  4. Choi, Jay Pil, 1998. "Brand Extension as Informational Leverage," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 655-69, October.
  5. Ausubel, Lawrence M. & Cramton, Peter & Deneckere, Raymond J., 2002. "Bargaining with incomplete information," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 50, pages 1897-1945 Elsevier.
  6. Steven Tadelis, 2002. "The Market for Reputations as an Incentive Mechanism," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 854-882, August.
  7. Gschwend, Thomas, 2004. "Ticket-Splitting and Strategic Voting," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 05-06, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  8. Andersson, Fredrik, 2002. "Pooling reputations," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 715-730, May.
  9. Rafael Rob, 2004. "Is Bigger Better? Investing in Reputation," Theory workshop papers 658612000000000086, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Aumann, Robert J. & Heifetz, Aviad, 2002. "Incomplete information," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 43, pages 1665-1686 Elsevier.
  11. Steven Tadelis, 2003. "Firm reputation with hidden information," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 635-651, 03.
  12. Shapiro, Carl, 1983. "Premiums for High Quality Products as Returns to Reputations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 659-79, November.
  13. 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 615-41, August.
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