Bargaining and Reputation in Search Markets
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.
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