RAND JOURNAL OF ECONOMICS2019-12
Neeman, Zvika | Ory, Aniko | Yu, Jungju
We study a model of reputation with two long-lived firms who operate under a collective brand or as two individual brands. Firms' investments in quality are unobserved and can only be sustained through reputational concerns. In a collective brand, consumers cannot distinguish between the two firms. In the long run, this generates incentives to free-ride on the other firm's investment, but in the short run, it mitigates the temptation to milk a good reputation. The signal structure and consumers' prior beliefs determine which effect dominates. We interpret our findings in light of the type of industry in which the firms operate.