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The Role of Commitment in Bilateral Trade

  • Dino Gerardi
  • Johannes Horner
  • Lucas Maestri

This paper characterizes the set of equilibrium payoffs in bargaining with interdependent values when the informed party makes all offers, as discounting vanishes. The seller of a good is informed of its quality, which affects both his cost and the buyer's valuation, but the buyer is not. To characterize this payoff set, we derive an upper bound, using mechanism design with limited commitment. We then prove that this upper bound is tight, by showing that all its extreme points are equilibrium payoffs. Our results shed light on the role of different forms of commitment in bargaining. In particular, they imply that the buyer's inability to commit before observing the terms of trade is what precludes efficiency.

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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 786969000000000923.

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Date of creation: 24 Feb 2014
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:786969000000000923
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.dklevine.com/

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  1. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine & Jean Tirole, 1985. "Infinite-Horizon Models of Bargaining with One-Sided Incomplete Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1098, David K. Levine.
  2. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, March.
  3. Forges Francoise, 1994. "Posterior Efficiency," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 238-261, March.
  4. Mylovanov, Tymofiy, 2005. "Veto-Based Delegation," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 129, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  5. Ariel Rubinstein, 2010. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Levine's Working Paper Archive 252, David K. Levine.
  6. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
  7. Bester, Helmut & Strausz, Roland, 2001. "Contracting with Imperfect Commitment and the Revelation Principle: The Single Agent Case," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 1077-98, July.
  8. Ausubel, Lawrence M. & Deneckere, Raymond J., 1989. "A direct mechanism characterization of sequential bargaining with one-sided incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 18-46, June.
  9. Samuelson, William F, 1984. "Bargaining under Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 995-1005, July.
  10. John Riley & Richard Zeckhauser, 1983. "Optimal Selling Strategies: When to Haggle, When to Hold Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(2), pages 267-289.
  11. Steven A. Matthews & Andrew Postlewaite, 1987. "Pre-Play Communication in Two-Person Sealed-Bid Double Auctions," Discussion Papers 744R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  12. Gresik, Thomas A., 1991. "Ex ante incentive efficient trading mechanisms without the private valuation restriction," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 41-63, October.
  13. Gresik, Thomas A., 1991. "Ex ante efficient, ex post individually rational trade," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 131-145, February.
  14. Raymond Deneckere & Meng-Yu Liang, 2006. "Bargaining with Interdependent Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1309-1364, 09.
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