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Competitive Pressure and Lying in Search Markets

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Abstract

We study a labor market in which principals and agents must search for a trading partner, and agents have private information about the value of a match. We show that competitive pressure can induce agents to lie and overstate the value of the match. This leads to insufficient frictional unemployment and search, and lower average utility. The resulting social loss increases with the accuracy of the private information and the ease with which matches are created, and decreases with the time-value of money. An unemployment subsidy can eliminate the inefficiency. Changing how the surplus is split between principal and agent, by contrast, has no effect on the agents’ incentive to lie.

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Paper provided by Hunter College Department of Economics in its series Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College with number 426.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:htr:hcecon:426

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Keywords: Search; Private Information; Competition;

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  1. Inderst, Roman, 2005. "Matching markets with adverse selection," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 145-166, April.
  2. Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2002. "Beauty is a Beast, Frog is a Prince: Assortative Matching with Nontransferabilities," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-149, Boston University - Department of Economics, revised Nov 2004.
  3. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Media Bias and Reputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 280-316, April.
  4. Burdett, Ken & Coles, Melvyn G, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-68, February.
  5. Adam Brandenburger & Ben Polak, 1996. "When Managers Cover Their Posteriors: Making the Decisions the Market Wants to See," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(3), pages 523-541, Autumn.
  6. Kenneth Burdett & Randall Wright, 1994. "Two-sided search," Staff Report 169, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Inderst, Roman, 2001. "Screening in a Matching Market," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(4), pages 849-68, October.
  8. Burdett Kenneth & Imai Ryoichi & Wright Randall, 2004. "Unstable Relationships," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-44, January.
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