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Rational Rationing


  • Allen, Franklin
  • Faulhaber, Gerald R


Quantity rationing is often observed to occur in actual markets where quality is difficult to observe. Standard theory suggests such markets must be in disequilibrium, since firms could increase profits by raising price. This paper develops a model in which consumers learn about firm quality from noisy observations of output quality. In equilibrium, quantity rationing may occur in which low price signals high quality (and vice versa), and high-quality firms ration demand initially. Examples are luxury cars and fine restaurants. Copyright 1991 by The London School of Economics and Political Science.

Suggested Citation

  • Allen, Franklin & Faulhaber, Gerald R, 1991. "Rational Rationing," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(230), pages 189-198, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:58:y:1991:i:230:p:189-98

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Häckner, Jonas & Nyberg, Sten, 1992. "Deregulating Taxi Services - A Word of Caution," Working Paper Series 353, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Emmanuel Dechenaux & Dan Kovenock, 2011. "Endogenous rationing, price dispersion and collusion in capacity constrained supergames," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 47(1), pages 29-74, May.
    2. Felix Oberholzer-Gee, 2003. "A Market for Time: Fairness and Efficiency in Waiting Lines," CREMA Working Paper Series 2003-04, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    3. Liu, Xuyuan & Lu, Jingfeng, 2017. "Optimal prize-rationing strategy in all-pay contests with incomplete information," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 57-90.
    4. Pascal Courty & Javad Nasiry, 2016. "Product Launches and Buying Frenzies: A Dynamic Perspective," Production and Operations Management, Production and Operations Management Society, vol. 25(1), pages 143-152, January.
    5. Vahey, Shaun P., 2004. "Signalling ability to pay and rent sharing dynamics," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(11), pages 2327-2339, October.
    6. Di Maria, Corrado & Köttl, Johannes, 2002. "Lagged Network Externalities and Rationing in a Software Monopoly," Economics Series 120, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    7. Liu, Ting & Schiraldi, Pasquale, 2014. "Buying frenzies in durable-goods markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 1-16.

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