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Adverse Selection with Competitive Inspection

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  • Gary Biglaiser
  • James W. Friedman

Abstract

We develop a model with heterogeneous buyers and sellers in which the sellers have private information about their goods' qualities. We show that efficient trading cannot occur without middlemen. Middlemen can provide two services: one is inspection, and the other is the sorting of buyers and sellers through the rationing of sellers and the provision of two different price schedules. The latter service permits the possibility of achieving the first best. When the first best is not attainable, there is a second best characterized by two intervals, one consisting of low-quality noninspected goods, and the other of high-quality inspected goods. We determine whether first and second best outcomes can be implemented in a market equilibrium with both zero and infinite buyer-seller search costs. First and second best outcomes are attainable under a larger set of parameter values when search costs are infinite; also, typically too much inspection occurs in a market equilibrium. Welfare may be either raised or lowered by the introduction of middlemen. Copyright (c) 1999 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary Biglaiser & James W. Friedman, 1999. "Adverse Selection with Competitive Inspection," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(1), pages 1-32, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:8:y:1999:i:1:p:1-32
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 2004. "Intermediaries in Entrepot Trade: Hong Kong Re-Exports of Chinese Goods," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 3-35, March.
    2. Becsi, Zsolt & Li, Victor E. & Wang, Ping, 2005. "Heterogeneous borrowers, liquidity, and the search for credit," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(8), pages 1331-1360, August.
    3. Langinier, Corinne & Babcock, Bruce A., 2005. "Producer's choice of certification," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19510, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    4. Zsolt Becsi & Victor Li & Ping Wang, 2000. "Financial Matchmakers in Credit Markets with Heterogeneous Borrowers," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0032, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    5. Heidrun C. Hoppe & Emre Ozdenoren, 2002. "Intermediation in Innovation," CIG Working Papers FS IV 02-11, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    6. Paolo G. Garella & Martin Peitz, 2007. "Alliances between Competitors and Consumer Information," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(4), pages 823-845, June.
    7. Eckardt, Martina, 2007. "Does signaling work in markets for information services? An empirical investigation for insurance intermediaries in Germany," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 77, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
    8. Tilles, Paulo F.C. & Ferreira, Fernando F. & Francisco, Gerson & Pereira, Carlos de B. & Sarti, Flavia M., 2011. "A Markovian model market—Akerlof’s lemons and the asymmetry of information," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 390(13), pages 2562-2570.

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