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Exclusive Intermediation

  • Itay Fainmesser

In this paper, we argue that an important function fulfilled by intermediaries is to facilitate trust by enabling social pressure towards the enforcement of informal agreements. To that end, we develop a new model that uses network theory to show that intermediaries who have exclusivity over a large enough number of interaction opportunities are able to exploit their position in the chains of interactions in the market to overcome incentive problems that would otherwise shut down the market. We derive conditions on the network structure under which intermediaries fulfill this function. Finally, we analyze two applications: (1) the market for short termapartment rentals; and (2) a financial market with investors and entrepreneurs. We provide additional examples suggesting that this paper uncovers an important channel through which intermediaries operate.

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Paper provided by Brown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2014-3.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2014-3
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

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  1. Bronwyn H. Hall & Josh Lerner, 2009. "The Financing of R&D and Innovation," NBER Working Papers 15325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
  3. Itay P. Fainmesser, 2012. "Community Structure and Market Outcomes: A Repeated Games-in-Networks Approach," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 32-69, February.
  4. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1997. "Default and Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model of Debt," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1792, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Karlan, Dean & Mobius, Markus & Rosenblat, Tanya & Szeidl, Adam, 2009. "Trust and Social Collateral," Staff General Research Papers 13026, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  6. Kaivan Munshi, 2011. "Strength in Numbers: Networks as a Solution to Occupational Traps," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(3), pages 1069-1101.
  7. Ellison, Glenn, 1994. "Cooperation in the Prisoner's Dilemma with Anonymous Random Matching," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 567-88, July.
  8. Bolton, Patrick & Scharfstein, David S, 1996. "Optimal Debt Structure and the Number of Creditors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 1-25, February.
  9. Mihm, Maximilian & Toth, Russell & Lang, Corey, 2009. "What Goes Around Comes Around: A Theory of Indirect Reciprocity in Networks," Working Papers 09-07, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
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