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Income Dispersion, Asymmetric Information and Fluctuations in Market Efficiency

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  • Laura Veldkamp
  • Chris Edmond

Abstract

Recessions appear to be times when markets function less efficiently. This phenomenon has been the domain of theories that rely on changes in preferences (demand shocks) or constraints on price-setting (sticky prices). In our simple model of decentralized trade with asymmetric information, income dispersion measures uncertainty about buyer characteristics. Counter-cyclical income dispersion makes the asymmetric information friction stronger in recessions: optimal prices rise and trade volume falls. Unlike preference changes or price-setting constraints, income dispersion is observable. Using income dispersion estimates to quantify the model's effect, we find that model prices, sales and markups have properties similar to business cycle data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 06-13.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ste:nystbu:06-13

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Postal: New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics, 44 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10012-1126
Phone: (212) 998-0860
Fax: (212) 995-4218
Web page: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/economics/
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References

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  1. Emi Nakamura & Jon Steinsson, 2005. "Price Setting in a Forward-Looking Customer Market," Macroeconomics 0509010, EconWPA.
  2. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
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  6. Fatih Guvenen, 2009. "An Empirical Investigation of Labor Income Processes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 58-79, January.
  7. Gomme, P. & Greenwood, J., 1992. "On the Cyclical Allocation of Risk," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9205, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  8. Hanno N. Lustig & Stijn G. Van Nieuwerburgh, 2005. "Housing Collateral, Consumption Insurance, and Risk Premia: An Empirical Perspective," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1167-1219, 06.
  9. Javier Díaz-Giménez & Vincenzo Quadrini & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1997. "Dimensions of inequality: facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-21.
  10. Guido Menzio, 2007. "A Search Theory of Rigid Prices," PIER Working Paper Archive 07-031, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  11. Rampini, Adriano A., 2004. "Entrepreneurial activity, risk, and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 555-573, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Nir Jaimovich, 2004. "Firm Dynamics, Markup Variations, and the Business Cycle," Discussion Papers 07-013, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, revised Mar 2007.
  2. YIlmaz, Ensar, 2011. "Income distribution, efficiency and rationing," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 1247-1255, May.

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