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Outside Options and the Failure of the Coase Conjecture


  • Simon Board
  • Marek Pycia


A buyer wishes to purchase a good from a seller who chooses a sequence of prices over time. Each period the buyer can also exercise an outside option, abandoning their search or moving on to another seller. We show there is a unique equilibrium in which the seller charges a constant price in every period equal to the monopoly price, contravening the Coase conjecture. We then embed the singleseller model into a search framework and show the result provides a foundation for the usual "no haggling" assumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Board & Marek Pycia, 2014. "Outside Options and the Failure of the Coase Conjecture," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(2), pages 656-671, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:2:p:656-71 Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.2.656

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Simon P. Anderson & Regis Renault, 1999. "Pricing, Product Diversity, and Search Costs: A Bertrand-Chamberlin-Diamond Model," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(4), pages 719-735, Winter.
    2. Eric W. Bond & Larry Samuelson, 1984. "Durable Good Monopolies with Rational Expectations and Replacement Sales," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 336-345, Autumn.
    3. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Raymond J. Deneckere, 1987. "One is Almost Enough for Monopoly," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 255-274, Summer.
    4. Peter C. Cramton, 1991. "Dynamic Bargaining with Transaction Costs," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(10), pages 1221-1233, October.
    5. Faruk Gul, 1987. "Noncooperative Collusion in Durable Goods Oligopoly," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 248-254, Summer.
    6. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
    7. Sushil Bikhchandani, 1992. "A Bargaining Model with Incomplete Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 187-203.
    8. Barak Orbach, "undated". "The Durapolist Puzzle: Monopoly Power in Durable-Goods Market," University of Michigan John M. Olin Center for Law & Economics Working Paper Series umichlwps-1000, University of Michigan John M. Olin Center for Law & Economics.
    9. Asher Wolinsky, 1986. "True Monopolistic Competition as a Result of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(3), pages 493-511.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jay Lu & Simon Board, 2015. "Information Provision and Consumer Search," 2015 Meeting Papers 1427, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Madarász, Kristóf, 2015. "Bargaining under the Illusion of Transparency," CEPR Discussion Papers 10327, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. repec:eee:gamebe:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:89-113 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Keisuke Hattori & Amihai Glazer, 2013. "How to Commit to a Future Price," Working Papers 131402, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    5. Hwang, Ilwoo & Li, Fei, 2017. "Transparency of outside options in bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 116-147.
    6. Alison Watts, 2016. "Auctions Versus Private Negotiations in Buyer-Seller Networks," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(3), pages 1-14, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • L12 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets


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