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Bargaining and Reputation in Search Markets


  • Alp Atakan
  • Mehmet Ekmekci


In a two-sided search market agents are paired to bargain over a unit surplus. The matching market serves as an endogenous outside option for agents in a bargaining relationship. Behavioral agents are (strategically inflexible) commitment types that demand a constant portion of the unit surplus. The steady state frequency of behavioral types in the market is determined in equilibrium. We show, even if behavioral types are negligible, they substantially effect the terms of trade and efficiency. In an unbalanced market where the entering flow of one side is short, bargaining follows equilibrium play in a bargaining game with one-sided reputation, the terms of trade are determined by the commitment types on the short side, and commitment types improve efficiency. In a balanced market where the entering flows of the two sides are equal, bargaining follows equilibrium play in a bargaining game with two-sided reputation and commitment types cause inefficiency. An inefficient equilibrium with persistent delays and break-ups is constructed. The magnitude of inefficiency is determined by the inflexible demands of the commitment types and is independent of the fraction of the commitment types entering the market.

Suggested Citation

  • Alp Atakan & Mehmet Ekmekci, 2010. "Bargaining and Reputation in Search Markets," Discussion Papers 1508, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1508

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    Cited by:

    1. Selçuk Özyurt, 2015. "Searching for a Bargain: Power of Strategic Commitment," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 320-353, February.
    2. Erik O. Kimbrough & Kevin Laughren & Roman Sheremeta, 2017. "War and Conflict in Economics: Theories, Applications, and Recent Trends," Discussion Papers dp17-10, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
    3. Anton Tsoy, 2016. "Liquidity and Prices in Decentralized Markets with Almost Public Information," 2016 Meeting Papers 8, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. repec:eee:gamebe:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:89-113 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Yusuke Mori, 2013. "A Formal Theory of Firm Boundaries: A Trade-Off between Rent Seeking and Bargaining Costs," Discussion Paper Series DP2013-20, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
    6. Özyurt Selçuk, 2016. "Building Reputation in a War of Attrition Game: Hawkish or Dovish Stance?," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 16(2), pages 797-816, June.

    More about this item


    Bargaining; Reputation; Search; Dynamic Matching; War-of-Attrition. JEL Classification Numbers: C78; D83;

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