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Selling through referrals

Author

Listed:
  • Daniele Condorelli
  • Andrea Galeotti
  • Vasiliki Skreta

Abstract

We endogenize intermediaries' choice to operate as agents or merchants in a market where there are frictions due to asymmetric information about consumption values. A seller has an object for sale and can reach buyers only through intermediaries. Intermediaries can either mediate the transaction by buying and reselling—the merchant mode—or refer buyers to the seller for a fee—the referral mode. When the seller has a strong bargaining position and can condition the asking price to the intermediaries' business model choice, all intermediaries specialize in agency. The seller's and intermediaries' joint profits equal the seller's profits when he has access to all buyers. When the seller does not have such bargaining power, the level of the referral fee and the degree of competition among intermediaries determine the business mode adoption. A hybrid agency–merchant mode may be adopted in equilibrium. Banning the referral mode can decrease welfare because the merchant mode is associated with additional allocative distortions due to asymmetric information.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniele Condorelli & Andrea Galeotti & Vasiliki Skreta, 2018. "Selling through referrals," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 669-685, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:27:y:2018:i:4:p:669-685
    DOI: 10.1111/jems.12251
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Yong Zha & Quan Li & Tingliang Huang & Yugang Yu, 2023. "Strategic Information Sharing of Online Platforms as Resellers or Marketplaces," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 42(4), pages 659-678, July.
    2. Liang Lu, 2017. "A Comparison of the Wholesale Model and the Agency Model in Differentiated Markets," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 51(2), pages 151-172, September.
    3. Liang Lu, 2015. "A Comparison of the Wholesale Structure and the Agency Structure in Differentiated Markets," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Competition Policy (CCP) 2015-07v2, Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    4. Gaudin, Germain & White, Alexander, 2014. "On the antitrust economics of the electronic books industry," DICE Discussion Papers 147 [rev.], Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    5. Babur De los Santos & Matthijs R. Wildenbeest, 2017. "E-book pricing and vertical restraints," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 85-122, June.
    6. Priazhkina, Sofia & Page, Frank H., 2018. "Sharing market access in buyer–seller networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 415-446.
    7. Maximilian Maurice Gail & Phil-Adrian Klotz, 2021. "The Impact of the Agency Model on E-book Prices: Evidence from the UK," MAGKS Papers on Economics 202111, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    8. Joan Calzada & Ester Manna & Andrea Mantovani, 2022. "Platform price parity clauses and market segmentation," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(3), pages 609-637, August.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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