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Middlemen: The Visible Market Makers

  • Makoto Watanabe


This paper presents a search-theoretic model where middlemen can emerge endogenously to intermediate between ex ante homogeneous buyers and sellers in the presence of coordination frictions. Middlemen set price to compete in the market, and hold an inventory to provide a high matching service. I show that middlemen's inventories can mitigate trade imbalances and interact with price competition, generating an interesting tradeoff for the equilibrium price determination. The competitive limit emerges when middlemen guarantee excess demand will never occur. Conditions are characterized under which middlemen carry out the short-side principle for the market price to be Walrasian.

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Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía in its series Economics Working Papers with number we061002.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we061002
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  1. John Rust & George Hall, 2001. "Middle Men Versus Market Makers: A Theory of Competitive Exchange," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1299, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Alok Johri & Lohn Leach, 2000. "Middlemen and the Allocation of Heterogeneous Goods," Department of Economics Working Papers 2000-06, McMaster University.
  3. Albrecht, James W. & Gautier, Pieter A. & Vroman, Susan B., 2003. "Matching with multiple applications," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 67-70, January.
  4. Shouyong Shi, 2002. "Product Market and the Size-Wage Differential," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(1), pages 21-54, February.
  5. Arthur J. Hosios, 1990. "On The Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 279-298.
  6. Spulber,Daniel F., 1999. "Market Microstructure," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521659789.
  7. Daniel F. Spulber, 1996. "Market Making by Price-Setting Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 559-580.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1998. "Holdups and Efficiency with Search Frictions," Working papers 98-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2005. "A Unified Framework for Monetary Theory and Policy Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 463-484, June.
  10. Chevalier, Judith A, 1995. " Do LBO Supermarkets Charge More? An Empirical Analysis of the Effects of LBOs on Supermarket Pricing," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1095-1112, September.
  11. Randall Wright & Guillame Rocheteau, 2003. "Money in Search Equilibrium, in Competitive Equilibrium, and in Competitive Search Equilibrium," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000302, UCLA Department of Economics.
  12. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Assignment of Workers to Jobs in an Economy with Coordination Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 996-1025, October.
  13. Gianni De Fraja & Jozsef Sakovics, 1999. "Walras Retrouve: Decentralized Trading Mechanisms and the Competitive Price," ESE Discussion Papers 36, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  14. Adrian Masters, 2004. "Middlemen in Search Equilibrium," Discussion Papers 04-11, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  15. Thomas Gehrig, 1993. "Intermediation in Search Markets," Discussion Papers 1058, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. Faig, Miquel & Jerez, Belen, 2005. "A theory of commerce," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 60-99, May.
  17. Acemoglu, D. & Shimer, R., 1997. "Efficient Unemployment Insurance," Working papers 97-9, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  18. Ariel T. Burstein & Joao C. Neves & Sergio Rebelo, 2000. "Distribution Costs and Real Exchange Rate Dynamics During Exchange-Rate-Based Stabilizations," RCER Working Papers 473, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  19. Coles, Melvyn G. & Eeckhout, Jan, 2003. "Indeterminacy and directed search," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 265-276, August.
  20. James D. Montgomery, 1991. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion and Interindustry Wage Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(1), pages 163-179.
  21. Dale T. Mortensen & Randall Wright, 2002. "Competitive Pricing and Efficiency in Search Equilibrium," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(1), pages 1-20, February.
  22. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
  23. Moen, Espen R, 1997. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 385-411, April.
  24. Clower, Robert & Leijonhufvud, Axel, 1975. "The Coordination of Economic Activities: A Keynesian Perspective," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(2), pages 182-88, May.
  25. Peters, Michael, 1991. "Ex Ante Price Offers in Matching Games Non-steady States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1425-54, September.
  26. Dean Corbae & Ted Temzelides & Randall Wright, 2003. "Directed Matching and Monetary Exchange," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(3), pages 731-756, 05.
  27. Li, Yiting, 1998. "Middlemen and private information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 131-159, June.
  28. Victor Aguirregabiria, 1999. "The Dynamics of Markups and Inventories in Retailing Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 275-308.
  29. Gerard R. Butters, 1977. "Equilibrium Distributions of Sales and Advertising Prices," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 465-491.
  30. repec:rus:hseeco:72158 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. Kenneth Burdett & Shouyong Shi & Randall Wright, 2001. "Pricing and Matching with Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1060-1085, October.
  32. Eric Smith, 2004. "Intermediated Search," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 71(284), pages 619-636, November.
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