New, Like New, or Very Good? Reputation and Credibility

Bruno Jullien, and In-Uck Park


We show that sellers may earn reputation for their “ability” to deliver high quality goods on average by honestly announcing the realised quality of items for sale every period. As the expected revenue stream from continuing with honest communication increases with their ability, high ability sellers remain honest while low ability sellers find it too costly and sometimes lie about quality for short-term gain. Thus, cheap-talk communication facilitates the market’s learning of a seller’s ability and strengthens reputation effects. We study this new reputation mechanism and the induced market dynamics, first when sellers cannot restart with a new identity and then when they can. We extend the analysis to various other situations such as voluntary refund and moral hazard.

JEL codes

  • C73: Stochastic and Dynamic Games • Evolutionary Games • Repeated Games
  • D82: Asymmetric and Private Information • Mechanism Design
  • D83: Search • Learning • Information and Knowledge • Communication • Belief
  • L14: Transactional Relationships • Contracts and Reputation • Networks


Bruno Jullien, and In-Uck Park, New, Like New, or Very Good? Reputation and Credibility, TSE Working Paper, n. 09-086, July 2009, revised January 29, 2014.

Published in

The Review of Economic Studies, vol. 81, n. 4, March 2014, pp. 1543–1574