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The Monopolist's Blues

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  • F. Adriani
  • LG Deidda

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Abstract

We consider the problem of trade between a price setting party who has private information about the quality of a good and a price taker who may also have private information. We restrict attention to the case in which, under full information, it is efficient to trade only a subset of all qualities. In particular, we assume that trading a low (high) quality is inefficient when the seller (buyer) sets the price. We show that there is a unique equilibrium outcome passing Cho and Kreps (1987) "Never a Weak Best Response". The refined outcome is always characterized by no trade, although trade would be mutually beneficial in some state of nature. This occurs - 1. Even if the price taker has more precise information than the price setting party, and 2. Even when the information received by both parties is almost perfect. Both results imply that there are inefficiencies due to price setting that are not present in standard markets with adverse selection. We find that the price setting party can always increase her profits through ex-ante delegation of the price choice to an uninformed third party. We discuss applications to professional bodies and the market for unskilled labor.

Suggested Citation

  • F. Adriani & LG Deidda, 2006. "The Monopolist's Blues," Working Paper CRENoS 200611, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  • Handle: RePEc:cns:cnscwp:200611
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Levin, Jonathan, 2001. "Information and the Market for Lemons," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(4), pages 657-666, Winter.
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    4. 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.
    5. Marco Ottaviani & Andrea Prat, 2001. "The Value of Public Information in Monopoly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1673-1683, November.
    6. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1993. "Designing institutions for monetary stability," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 53-84, December.
    7. Banks, Jeffrey S & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Equilibrium Selection in Signaling Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 647-661, May.
    8. 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.
    9. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Maskin, Eric, 1987. "Monopoly with asymmetric information about quality : Behavior and regulation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 483-489.
    10. Cho, In-Koo & Sobel, Joel, 1990. "Strategic stability and uniqueness in signaling games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 381-413, April.
    11. Bagwell, Kyle, 1991. "Optimal Export Policy for a New-Product Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1156-1169, December.
    12. 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.
    13. Kessler, Anke S, 2001. "Revisiting the Lemons Market," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(1), pages 25-41, February.
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    16. Overgaard, Per Baltzer, 1993. "Price as a signal of quality : A discussion of equilibrium concepts in signalling games," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 483-504, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. G. Marletto, 2007. "Crossing The Alps: Three Transport Policy Options," Working Paper CRENoS 200712, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
    2. OA Carboni & G. Medda, 2007. "Government Size and the Composition of Public Spending in a Neoclassical Growth Model," Working Paper CRENoS 200701, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    market for lemons; signaling; two-sided asymmetric information; professional bodies; trade unions;

    JEL classification:

    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design

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