The role of reciprocity in the creation of reputation

Abraham M, Damelang A, Grimm V, Neeß C, Seebauer M (2021)

Publication Language: English

Publication Type: Journal article, Original article

Publication year: 2021


Book Volume: 37

Pages Range: 137-154

Journal Issue: 1

DOI: 10.1093/esr/jcaa038


Although reputation has been shown to solve problems of information and opportunism in business relationships, knowledge about the emergence of reputation in business relationships beyond the internet is considerably scarcer. In this paper, we argue that a norm of reciprocity is a major driver for information transfer in social and economic systems. A social norm to return the favors that are given by others will enhance the flow of information about potential exchange partners. We distinguish between direct and generalized reciprocity and argue that both may foster the flow of information about exchange partners in economic systems. Moreover, we examine the interdependency between competition and reciprocity. Our empirical evidence is based on a laboratory experiment with students and a field experiment with 240 managers of a German business cluster. Our results show that direct reciprocity, in particular, is a major driver for the transmission of reputational information to third parties. Moreover, transmission costs and competition reduce the willingness to produce information in an exchange system.

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Abraham, M., Damelang, A., Grimm, V., Neeß, C., & Seebauer, M. (2021). The role of reciprocity in the creation of reputation. European Sociological Review, 37(1), 137-154.


Abraham, Martin, et al. "The role of reciprocity in the creation of reputation." European Sociological Review 37.1 (2021): 137-154.

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