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Fee-Setting Mechanisms: On Optimal Pricing by Intermediaries and Indirect Taxation

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  • Simon Loertscher & Andras Niedermayer

Abstract

Mechanisms according to which private intermediaries or governments charge transaction fees or indirect taxes are prevalent in practice. We consider a setup with multiple buyers and sellers and two-sided independent private information about valuations. We show that any weighted average of revenue and social welfare can be maximized through appropriately chosen transaction fees and that in increasingly thin markets such optimal fees converge to linear fees. Moreover, fees decrease with competition (or the weight on welfare) and the elasticity of supply but decrease with the elasticity of demand. Our theoretical predictions fit empirical observations in several industries with intermediaries.

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Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 1162.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1162

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Keywords: brokers; applied mechanism design; linear commission fees; optimal indirect;

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  1. Isabelle Perrigne & Quang Vuong, 2011. "Nonparametric Identification of a Contract Model With Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1499-1539, 09.
  2. Salanié, Bernard, 2011. "The Economics of Taxation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262016346, December.
  3. Loertscher, Simon & Niedermayer, Andras, 2012. "Assessing the Performance of Simple Contracts Empirically: The Case of Percentage Fees," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 435, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  4. Satterthwaite, Mark & Shneyerov, Art, 2004. "Dynamic Matching,Two-sided Incomplete Information, and Participation Costs: Existence and Convergence to Perfect Competition," Microeconomics.ca working papers shneyerov-04-12-17-02-54-, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 17 Dec 2004.
  5. Audrey Hu & Steven A. Matthews & Liang Zou, 2009. "Risk Aversion and Optimal Reserve Prices in First and Second-Price Auctions," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-016, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. Igal Hendel & Aviv Nevo & François Ortalo-Magné, 2007. "The Relative Performance of Real Estate Marketing Platforms: MLS versus FSBOMadison.com," NBER Working Papers 13360, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Martin F. Hellwig, 2003. "Public-Good Provision with Many Participants," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 589-614.
  8. Leininger, W. & Linhart, P. B. & Radner, R., 1989. "Equilibria of the sealed-bid mechanism for bargaining with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 63-106, June.
  9. Steven D. Levitt & Chad Syverson, 2005. "Market Distortions when Agents are Better Informed: The Value of Information in Real Estate Transactions," NBER Working Papers 11053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Chenghuan Sean Chu & Phillip Leslie & Alan Sorensen, 2011. "Bundle-Size Pricing as an Approximation to Mixed Bundling," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 263-303, February.
  11. Jullien, Bruno & Mariotti, Thomas, 2002. "Auction and the Informed Seller Problem," IDEI Working Papers 145, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Oct 2004.
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