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Buyers, Sellers and Middlemen: Variations on Search-Theoretic Themes

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  • Yuet-Yee Wong
  • Randall Wright

Abstract

We study bilateral exchange, both direct trade and indirect trade that happens through chains of intermediaries or middlemen. We develop a model of this activity and present applications. This illustrates how, and how many, intermediaries get involved, and how the terms of trade are determined. We show how bargaining with one intermediary depends on upcoming negotiations with downstream intermediaries, leading to holdup problems. We discuss the roles of buyers and sellers in bilateral exchanges, and how to interpret prices. We develop a particular bargaining solution and relate it to other solutions. In addition to contrasting our framework with other models of middlemen, we discuss the connection to different branches of search theory. We also illustrate how bubbles can emerge in intermediation.

Suggested Citation

  • Yuet-Yee Wong & Randall Wright, 2011. "Buyers, Sellers and Middlemen: Variations on Search-Theoretic Themes," NBER Working Papers 17511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17511
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    1. Buyers, Sellers and Middlemen: Variations on Search-Theoretic Themes
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2011-11-08 03:30:44

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    Cited by:

    1. Watanabe Makoto, 2020. "Middlemen: A Directed Search Equilibrium Approach," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 20(2), pages 1-37, June.
    2. Chao He & Randall Wright & Yu Zhu, 2015. "Housing and Liquidity," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(3), pages 435-455, July.
    3. Randall Wright & Yuet‐Yee Wong, 2014. "Buyers, Sellers, And Middlemen: Variations On Search‐Theoretic Themes," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55(2), pages 375-397, May.
    4. Davis, Morris A. & Van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn, 2015. "Housing, Finance, and the Macroeconomy," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 753-811, Elsevier.
    5. Klaus Kultti & Tuomas Takalo & Oskari Vähämaa, 2021. "Intermediation in a directed search model," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(2), pages 456-471, May.
    6. Charles Ka Yui Leung & Chung-Yi Tse, 2012. "Flippers in Housing Market Search," 2012 Meeting Papers 434, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. V. P. Nirmal Roy, 2020. "Part-time Brokers in Financialised Rural Land Markets: Processes, Typology and Implications," Review of Development and Change, , vol. 25(1), pages 70-88, June.
    8. Awaya, Yu & Iwasaki, Kohei & Watanabe, Makoto, 2022. "Rational bubbles and middlemen," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 17(4), November.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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