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(De)Regulation and Market Thickness

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  • Jean Guillaume Forand

    (Department of Economics, University of Waterloo)

  • Vikram Maheshri

    (Department of Economics, University of Houston)

Abstract

In this paper, we develop a general view of regulation as a set of constraints imposed on market transactions by a welfare-maximizing authority. We present a novel frictional search model with horizontal differentiation and nontransferable utility in which a regulator determines the set of permitted match-specific production functions. Once the dynamic market opens, buyers and sellers are matched and sellers propose transactions from among those that are allowed. We show the existence and uniqueness of a marketequilibrium for any choice of regulatory constraints and characterize the regulator’s exante optimal choice of regulatory environment. We argue that in less developed, or ‘thin’, markets, regulation is an important tool to correct market failure arising from mismatch between buyers and sellers. However, if markets develop and become ‘thick’, regulations can become onerous vestiges and deregulation is welfare-enhancing. In this case, a regulator can rely on market participants’ equilibrium behavior instead of explicit constraints on economic activities to ensure that transactions occur efficiently.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Waterloo, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1202.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2012
Date of revision: Oct 2012
Handle: RePEc:wat:wpaper:1202

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  1. Robert Shimer & Lones Smith, 2000. "Assortative Matching and Search," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 343-370, March.
  2. Rubinstein, Ariel & Wolinsky, Asher, 1990. "Decentralized Trading, Strategic Behaviour and the Walrasian Outcome," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 63-78, January.
  3. Gianni De Fraja & Jozsef Sakovics, 2004. "Walras Retrouve: Decentralized Trading Mechanisms and the Competitive Price," ESE Discussion Papers 36, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  4. Simon Clark, 2007. "Matching and Sorting when Like Attracts Like," ESE Discussion Papers 171, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  5. Alain Delacroix & Shouyong Shi, 2012. "Pricing and Signaling with Frictions," Working Papers tecipa-455, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. Dirk Hofmann & Salmai Qari, 2011. "The Law of Attraction: Bilateral Search and Horizontal Heterogeneity," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2011-017, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  8. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
  9. Arial Rubinstein & Asher Wolinsky, 1985. "Equilibrium in a Market with Sequential Bargaining," Levine's Working Paper Archive 623, David K. Levine.
  10. Gale, Douglas M, 1986. "Bargaining and Competition Part I: Characterization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 785-806, July.
  11. Armstrong, Mark & Sappington, David E.M., 2007. "Recent Developments in the Theory of Regulation," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
  12. Max Planck Institute & Stephan Lauermann, 2007. "Dynamic Matching and Bargaining Games: A General Approach," 2007 Meeting Papers 269, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Michael M. Knetter & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Measuring Product-Market Integration," NBER Chapters, in: Topics in Empirical International Economics: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert E. Lipsey, pages 15-46 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Eeckhout, Jan, 1999. "Bilateral Search and Vertical Heterogeneity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 869-87, November.
  15. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
  16. Stephan Lauermann & Georg Nöldeke, 2012. "Stable Marriages and Search Frictions," Working papers 2012/10, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  17. Baron, David P., 1989. "Design of regulatory mechanisms and institutions," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 24, pages 1347-1447 Elsevier.
  18. Ausubel, Lawrence M & Deneckere, Raymond J, 1993. "A Generalized Theorem of the Maximum," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 99-107, January.
  19. Adachi, Hiroyuki, 2003. "A search model of two-sided matching under nontransferable utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 182-198, December.
  20. Burdett, Ken & Coles, Melvyn G, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-68, February.
  21. Sattinger, Michael, 1995. "Search and the Efficient Assignment of Workers to Jobs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(2), pages 283-302, May.
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