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Trading mechanism selection with directed search when buyers are risk averse


  • Selcuk, Cemil


We endogenize the trading mechanism selection in a model of directed search with risk averse buyers and show that the unique symmetric equilibrium entails all sellers using fixed price trading. Mechanisms that prescribe the sale price as a function of the realized demand (auctions, bargaining, discount pricing, etc.) expose buyers to the “price risk”, the uncertainty of not knowing how much to pay in advance. Fixed price trading eliminates the price risk, which is why risk averse customers accept paying more to shop at such stores.

Suggested Citation

  • Selcuk, Cemil, 2012. "Trading mechanism selection with directed search when buyers are risk averse," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 207-210.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:115:y:2012:i:2:p:207-210 DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2011.12.012

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    2. Wang, Ruqu, 1995. "Bargaining versus posted-price selling," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1747-1764, December.
    3. Peters, Michael, 2000. "Limits of Exact Equilibria for Capacity Constrained Sellers with Costly Search," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 95(2), pages 139-168, December.
    4. Kenneth Burdett & Shouyong Shi & Randall Wright, 2001. "Pricing and Matching with Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1060-1085, October.
    5. Michael Peters, 1997. "A Competitive Distribution of Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(1), pages 97-123.
    6. McAfee, R Preston, 1993. "Mechanism Design by Competing Sellers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(6), pages 1281-1312, November.
    7. Wang, Ruqu, 1993. "Auctions versus Posted-Price Selling," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 838-851, September.
    8. Benoit Julien & John Kennes & Ian King, 2000. "Bidding for Labor," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(4), pages 619-649, October.
    9. Kultti, Klaus, 1999. "Equivalence of Auctions and Posted Prices," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 106-113, April.
    10. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, July.
    11. Eeckhout, Jan & Kircher, Philipp, 2010. "Sorting versus screening: Search frictions and competing mechanisms," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(4), pages 1354-1385, July.
    12. Gabriele Camera & Cemil Selcuk, 2010. "Multi-player Bargaining with Endogenous Capacity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(3), pages 637-653, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Goldberg, Linda & Tille, Cédric, 2013. "A bargaining theory of trade invoicing and pricing," Kiel Working Papers 1839, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    2. Camera, Gabriele & Kim, Jaehong, 2013. "Buyer’s equilibrium with capacity constraints and restricted mobility: A recursive approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 321-323.
    3. Guerrieri, Veronica & Julien, Benoit & Kircher, Philipp & Wright, Randall, 2017. "Directed Search: A Guided Tour," CEPR Discussion Papers 12315, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Godenhielm Mats & Kultti Klaus, 2015. "Directed Search with Endogenous Capacity," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 15(2), pages 211-249, July.

    More about this item


    Directed search; Competing mechanisms; Risk aversion;

    JEL classification:

    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness


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