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Market and Non-Market Mechanisms for the Optimal Allocation of Scarce Resources

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  • Daniele Condorelli

Abstract

Both market (e.g. auctions) and non-market mechanisms (e.g. lotteries and priority lists) are used to allocate a large amount of scarce public resources that produce large private benefits and small consumption externalities. I study a model in which the use of both market and non-market mechanisms can be rationalized. Agents are risk neutral and heterogeneous in terms of their monetary value for a good and their opportunity cost of money, which are both private information. The designer wants to allocate a set of identical goods to the agents with the highest values. To achieve her goal, she can screen agents on the basis of their observable characteristics, and on the basis of information on their willingness to pay that she can extract using market mechanisms. In contrast to models where willingness to pay and value coincide, a first best cannot be achieved. My main result is that both market and non-market mechanisms, or hybrid mechanisms, can be optimal depending on the prior information available to the designer. In particular, non-market mechanisms may be optimal if the value is positively correlated with the opportunity cost of money.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniele Condorelli, 2009. "Market and Non-Market Mechanisms for the Optimal Allocation of Scarce Resources," Discussion Papers 1483, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1483
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    Cited by:

    1. Grundel, S. & Borm, P.E.M. & Hamers, H.J.M., 2013. "Resource Allocation Problems with Concave Reward Functions," Discussion Paper 2013-070, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    2. Holzer Jorge & McConnell Kenneth, 2016. "A Model of Access in the Absence of Markets," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 367-388, January.
    3. Pai, Mallesh M. & Vohra, Rakesh, 2014. "Optimal auctions with financially constrained buyers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 383-425.
    4. Che, Yeon-Koo & Gale, Ian & Kim, Jinwoo, 2013. "Efficient assignment mechanisms for liquidity-constrained agents," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 659-665.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D45 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Rationing; Licensing
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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