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Networks, frictions, and price dispersion

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  • Donna, Javier D.
  • Schenone, Pablo
  • Veramendi, Gregory F.

Abstract

This article uses networks to study price dispersion in seller-buyer markets where buyers with unit demand interact with multiple, but not all, sellers; and buyers and sellers compete on prices after they meet. The central finding of this article is that price dispersion is determined by the structure of the network. First, for any given network we characterize the pairwise stable matchings and the prices that support them. Second, we characterize the set of all graphs where price dispersion is precluded. Third, we use a theorem from Frieze (1985) to show that the graphs where price dispersion is precluded arise asymptotically with probability one in random Poisson networks, even as the probability of each individual link goes to zero. Finally, we calibrate our model to the documented price dispersion at the online trading platform eBay and show how counterfactual network structures at eBay would substantially decrease price dispersion.

Suggested Citation

  • Donna, Javier D. & Schenone, Pablo & Veramendi, Gregory F., 2020. "Networks, frictions, and price dispersion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 406-431.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:124:y:2020:i:c:p:406-431
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2020.09.002
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    1. Donna, Javier & Schenone, Pablo & Veramendi, Gregory, 2016. "Frictions in internet auctions with many traders: A counterexample," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 81-84.
    2. Polanski Arnold & Vega-Redondo Fernando, 2018. "Bargaining Frictions in Trading Networks," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 18(1), pages 1-11, January.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Price dispersion; Frictions; Networks;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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