The Efficiency Of Decentralized And Centralized Markets For Lemons
In markets with adverse selection, when average quality is low and frictions are small decentralized trade produces a greater surplus than predicted by the competitive model: under decentralized trade some high-quality units of the good trade whereas, due to the “lemons problem,” only low-quality units trade in the competitive equilibrium. This suggests a reason why these markets are often decentralized. Remarkably, under some conditions payoffs are competitive as frictions vanish, even though all qualities trade.
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