Reputation-Based Governance

Reputation-Based Governance

Reputation-Based Governance

Reputation-Based Governance


It would be easy to cheat someone on eBay. However, an essential characteristic of the site prevents this from happening: buyer and seller reviews form what amounts to an "index of reputation." The availability of such an index provides a strong incentive to be an honest trader.

Reputation-Based Governance melds concepts from businesses like eBay with politics. Author Lucio Picci uses interdisciplinary tools to argue that the intelligent use of widely available Internet technologies can strengthen reputational mechanisms and significantly improve public governance. Based on this notion, the book proposes a governance model that leans on the concept of reputational incentives while discussing the pivotal role of reputation in politics today. Picci argues that a continuous, distributed process of assessing policy outcomes, enabled by an appropriate information system, would contribute to a governance model characterized by effectiveness, efficiency, and a minimum amount of rent-seeking activity. Moreover, if citizens were also allowed to express their views on prospective policies, then reputation-based governance would provide a platform on which to develop advanced forms of participative democracy.


In this book, I discuss the role and the relevance of reputation in governance, and argue that an intelligent use of widely available Internet technologies would strengthen reputational mechanisms and significantly improve public governance. I will propose a governance model that is “reputation-based”—hence the title of the book.

The study I present offers an analysis of public governance and public administration and is multidisciplinary. Overstepping the barriers that separate different disciplines presents risks, and my first challenge in writing this book was to guarantee its intelligibility. In this respect, my goal was to provide a discussion that is rigorous, but accessible to experts from different areas. As a result, the reader may occasionally find explanations of concepts that are well known. In those instances, I beg the reader for patience, and I grant permission to overlook the few lines or pages in question, as I fully endorse Daniel Pennac’s “Reader’s Bill of Rights,” Rule no. 2: The right to skip pages.

The second basic challenge to writing a multidisciplinary book is, of course, for the writer, who should be at ease in each of the disciplines involved. Though I have several years of experience in the relevant fields, this is no reason for confidence. I have, however, been fortunate enough to benefit from the comments, advice, and criticisms of several colleagues and friends who have certainly helped me to correct at least some of my shortcomings.

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