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Negative Externalities and Equilibrium Existence in Competitive Markets with Adverse Selection

  • von Siemens, Ferdinand


    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Kosfeld, Michael


    (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Rothschild and Stiglitz (1976) show that there need not exist a competitive equilibrium in markets with adverse selection. Building on their framework we demonstrate that externalities between agents − an agent's utility upon accepting a contract depends on the average type attracted by the respective principal − can solve the equilibrium existence problem, even when the size of the externalities is arbitrarily small. Our result highlights the degree of control a principal has over the attractiveness of his contracts as an important feature for equilibrium existence, thereby offering a new perspective on existing theories of competition in markets with adverse selection.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4125.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4125
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  1. P. Dubey & J. Geanakoplos, 2001. "Competitive Pooling: Rothschild-Stiglitz Reconsidered," Department of Economics Working Papers 01-10, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  2. Bester, Helmut, 1985. "Screening vs. Rationing in Credit Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 850-55, September.
  3. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 896, David K. Levine.
  4. Gale, Douglas, 1992. "A Walrasian Theory of Markets with Adverse Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 229-55, April.
  5. Riley, John G, 1979. "Informational Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 331-59, March.
  6. 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.
  7. Dalmazzo, Alberto, 2002. " Technological Complexity, Wage Differentials and Unemployment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 104(4), pages 515-30, December.
  8. Hellwig, Martin, 1987. "Some recent developments in the theory of competition in markets with adverse selection ," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 319-325.
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