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A Theory of Commerce: Competitive Search Under Private Information

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  • Miquel Faig
  • Belen Jerez

Abstract

We extend the concept of competitive search to an environment where, as is often common, sellers cannot observe the willingness to pay of their clients. This theoretical contribution is applied to model retail trade. We find that in equilibrium the ratio of buyers over sellers exceeds that of the first best allocation. However, a planner who faces the same informational constraints as the market and whose only policy instrument is to regulate market prices cannot improve upon the equilibrium allocation when the production technology is linear. The model we construct is quite tractable, and when inserted in a Neoclassical growth framework it is suciently rich to be taken to the data for estimation. The search parameters can be identified with data on commercial margins and the households' allocation of time.

Suggested Citation

  • Miquel Faig & Belen Jerez, 2003. "A Theory of Commerce: Competitive Search Under Private Information," Working Papers faig-02-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:faig-02-01
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shouyong Shi, 1997. "A Divisible Search Model of Fiat Money," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(1), pages 75-102, January.
    2. Betancourt, Roger R & Gautschi, David A, 1993. "The Outputs of Retail Activities: Concepts, Measurement and Evidence from U.S. Census Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 294-301, May.
    3. Kenneth Burdett & Shouyong Shi & Randall Wright, 1998. "Pricing with frictions," Working Papers 98-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    4. Eric Maskin & John Riley, 1984. "Monopoly with Incomplete Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 171-196, Summer.
    5. Miquel Faig, 2001. "A Search Theory of Money and Commerce with Neoclassical Production," Working Papers faig-01-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    6. Peters, Michael, 1991. "Ex Ante Price Offers in Matching Games Non-steady States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1425-1454, September.
    7. Mortensen, Dale T, 1982. "Property Rights and Efficiency in Mating, Racing, and Related Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 968-979, December.
    8. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-954, August.
    9. Moen, Espen R, 1997. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 385-411, April.
    10. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1993. "A Search-Theoretic Approach to Monetary Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 63-77, March.
    11. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
    12. Arthur J. Hosios, 1990. "On The Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 279-298.
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