What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset
Working Paper No. 97-033
36 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 1998
Date Written: February 1998
I develop a model in which a firm's only asset is its name -- which is associated with reputation -- and study the forces which cause names to be valuable, tradeable assets. An adverse selection model in which shifts of ownership are not observable 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 game-theoretic reputation literature. I also show that only good types buying good names cannot be sustained in equilibrium. Finally, the reputational dynamics are consistent with the stylized facts, and compared to the game theoretic literature, they offer an alternative interpretation of reputation.
JEL Classification: C7, C82, D8
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation