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General Equilibrium with Asymmetric Information: A Dual Approach

  • Belen Jerez

    (Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona)

We study markets where the characteristics or decisions of certain agents are relevant but not known to their trading partners. Assuming exclusive transactions, the environment is described as a continuum economy with indivisible commodities. We characterize incentive constrained efficient allocations as solutions to linear programming problems and appeal to duality theory to demonstrate the generic existence of external effects in these markets. Because under certain conditions such effects may generate non-convexities, randomization emerges as a theoretic possibility. In characterizing market equilibria we show that, consistently with the personalized nature of transactions, prices are generally non-linear in the underlying consumption. On the other hand, external effects may have critical implications for market efficiency. With adverse selection, in fact, cross-subsidization across agents with different private information may be necessary for optimality, and so, the market need not even achieve an incentive constrained efficient allocation. In contrast, in the case of a single (type of) commodity, we find that when informational asymmetries arise after the trading period (e.g. moral hazard; ex post hidden types) external effects are fully internalized at a market equilibrium.

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Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 1497.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1497
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  1. Douglas Gale, 1994. "Equilibria and Pareto Optima of Markets with Adverse Selection," Papers 0046, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  2. Karl Shell & Randall Wright, 2010. "Indivisibilities, Lotteries and Sunspot Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2061, David K. Levine.
  3. Richard Arnott & Bruce Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1993. "Information and Economic Efficiency," NBER Working Papers 4533, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Prescott, Edward C & Townsend, Robert M, 1984. "Pareto Optima and Competitive Equilibria with Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 21-45, January.
  5. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
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  7. Makowski, Louis, 1979. "Value theory with personalized trading," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 194-212, April.
  8. Michael Magill, 2000. "Equity, Options and Efficiency in the Presence of Moral Hazard," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1845, Econometric Society.
  9. Wilson, Charles, 1977. "A model of insurance markets with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 167-207, December.
  10. Mas-Colell, Andreu, 1975. "A model of equilibrium with differentiated commodities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 263-295.
  11. Alberto Bisin & Piero Gottardi, 1998. "Competitive Equilibria with Asymmetric Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2062, David K. Levine.
  12. A. Charnes & W. W. Cooper & K. Kortanek, 1965. "On Representations of Semi-Infinite Programs which Have No Duality Gaps," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 12(1), pages 113-121, September.
  13. Edward C Prescott & Robert M Townsend, 1997. "General Competitive Analysis in an Economy with Private Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1578, David K. Levine.
  14. Greenwald, Bruce C & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1986. "Externalities in Economies with Imperfect Information and Incomplete Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 229-64, May.
  15. Garratt, Rod & Keister, Todd & Qin, Cheng-Zhong & Shell, Karl, 2002. "Equilibrium Prices When the Sunspot Variable Is Continuous," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(1), pages 11-38, November.
  16. Richard Arnott & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1988. "Randomization with Asymmetric Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 344-362, Autumn.
  17. Sun, Yeneng, 1998. "A theory of hyperfinite processes: the complete removal of individual uncertainty via exact LLN1," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 419-503, May.
  18. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  19. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
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