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Book Chapter

Gossip and reputation in social dilemmas


Milinski,  Manfred
Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;
Emeritus Group Milinski, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Milinski, M. (2019). Gossip and reputation in social dilemmas. In F. Giardini (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Gossip and Reputation. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190494087.013.11.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0004-EB6C-B
Reputations can make or break citizens, communities, or companies. Reputations matter for individual careers, for one’s chances of finding a partner, for a profession’s credibility, or for the value of a firm’s stock options – to name but a few. The key mechanism for the creation, maintenance, and destruction of reputations in everyday life is gossip – evaluative talk about absent third parties. Reputation and gossip are inseparably intertwined, but up until now have been mostly studied in isolation. The present Handbook closes this gap, drawing on cutting edge insights from a multitude of disciplines, ranging from psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology and economics to philosophy, neurobiology and computer science. Being the first integrated and comprehensive collection of studies on both phenomena, each of the 25 chapters explores the current state of the art on the antecedents, processes and outcomes of the gossip-reputation link in contexts as diverse as online markets, non-industrial societies, modern firms, social networks, or schools. The volume is organized into seven parts, each of them devoted to the exploration of a different facet of gossip and reputation. Highly international in scope, the volume brings together some of the most eminent experts on gossip and reputation. Their contributions do not only help us to better understand the complex interplay between two of society’s most delicate social mechanisms. By pointing to new problems and a newly emerging cross-disciplinary solutions, the book also sketches the contours of a long term research agenda.