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date: 08 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

When interacting with others, it is often important for you to know what they have done in similar situations in the past: to know their reputation. One reason is that their past behavior may be a guide to their future behavior. A second reason is that their past behavior may have qualified them for reward and cooperation, or for punishment and revenge. The fact that you respond positively or negatively to the reputation of others then generates incentives for them to maintain good reputations. This article surveys the game theory literature which analyses the mechanisms and incentives involved in reputation. It also discusses how experiments have shed light on strategic behavior involved in maintaining reputations, and the adequacy of unreliable and third party information (gossip) for maintaining incentives for cooperation.

Keywords: game theory, gossip, reputation, social norms, expectations, imperfect public monitoring

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