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When Less Information is Good for Efficiency: Private Information in Bilateral Trade and in Markets

  • Stephan Lauermann

We consider a simple bilateral trading game between a seller and a buyer who have private valuations for an indivisible good. The seller makes a price offer which the buyer can either accept or reject. If the seller can observe the valuation of the buyer (if information is symmetric), then the trading outcome is trivially efficient. If the seller can not observe the valuation (if information is asymmetric), then the outcome must be inefficient, as is known from the Myerson-Satterthwaite Impossibility Theorem. We embed this bilateral trading game between a single buyer and a single seller into a matching market with a continuum of traders. We show that in this market the relation between information and efficiency is reversed. In particular, if information is symmetric, trading in the market is, in fact, inefficient.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2008 Meeting Papers with number 419.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed008:419
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Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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  1. Serrano, R. & Yosha, O., 1995. "Decentralized Information and the Walrasian Outcome : A Pairwise Meetings Market with Private Values," Papers 26-95, Tel Aviv.
  2. Alp E. Atakan, 2006. "Competitive Equilibria in Decentralized Matching with Incomplete Information," Discussion Papers 1437, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Leonardo Felli & Kevin Roberts, 2001. "Does Competition Solve the Hold-up Problem?," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 414, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  4. Satterthwaite, Mark & Shneyerov, Art, 2004. "Dynamic Matching,Two-sided Incomplete Information, and Participation Costs: Existence and Convergence to Perfect Competition," Microeconomics.ca working papers shneyerov-04-12-17-02-54-, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 17 Dec 2004.
  5. Shneyerov, Art & Wong, Adam Chi Leung, 2007. "Bilateral Matching and Bargaining with Private Information," Microeconomics.ca working papers shneyerov-07-05-01-03-38-, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 01 May 2007.
  6. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
  7. Gale, Douglas, 1987. "Limit theorems for markets with sequential bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 20-54, October.
  8. Stephan Lauermann, 2008. "Price Setting in a Decentralized Market and the Competitive Outcome," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2008_06, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  9. Roman Inderst, 2001. "Screening in a Matching Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(4), pages 849-868.
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