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A Scent of Lemon—Seller Meets Buyer with a Noisy Quality Observation

  • Mark Voorneveld

    (Department of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden)

  • Jörgen W. Weibull

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
    Department of Economics, École Polytechnique, 91 128 Palaiseau Cedex, France)

We consider a market for lemons in which the seller is a monopolistic price setter and the buyer receives a private noisy signal of the product’s quality. We model this as a game and analyze perfect Bayesian equilibrium prices, trading probabilities and gains of trade. In particular, we vary the buyer’s signal precision, from being completely uninformative, as in standard models of lemons markets, to being perfectly informative. We show that high quality units are sold with positive probability even in the limit of uninformative signals, and we identify some discontinuities in the equilibrium predictions at the boundaries of completely uninformative and completely informative signals, respectively.

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Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Games.

Volume (Year): 2 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 163-186

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Handle: RePEc:gam:jgames:v:2:y:2011:i:1:p:163-186:d:11740
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  1. Ellingsen, Tore, 1997. "Price signals quality: The case of perfectly inelastic demand," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 43-61, November.
  2. Jörgen Weibull & Lars-Göran Mattsson & Mark Voorneveld, 2007. "Better May be Worse: Some Monotonicity Results and Paradoxes in Discrete Choice Under Uncertainty," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 121-151, September.
  3. Helmut Bester & Klaus Ritzberger, . "Strategic Pricing, Signalling, and Costly Information Acquisition," Papers 008, Departmental Working Papers.
  4. Alós-Ferrer, Carlos & Prat, Julien, 2008. "Job Market Signaling and Employer Learning," IZA Discussion Papers 3285, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. John G. Riley, 2001. "Silver Signals: Twenty-Five Years of Screening and Signaling," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 432-478, June.
  6. J. Riley & E. Maskin, 1981. "Optimal Auctions with Risk Averse Buyers," Working papers 311, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Riley, John G & Samuelson, William F, 1981. "Optimal Auctions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 381-92, June.
  8. Nick Feltovich & Richmond Harbaugh & Ted To, 2002. "Too Cool for School? Signalling and Countersignalling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 630-649, Winter.
  9. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1986. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 796-821, August.
  10. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  11. Kyle Bagwell & Michael Riordan, 1988. "High and Declining Prices Signal Product Quality," Discussion Papers 808, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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