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Pricing and Signaling with Frictions

  • Alain Delacroix
  • Shouyong Shi

In this paper, we introduce private information into a market with search frictions and evaluate the relative efficiency of two pricing mechanisms, price posting and bargaining. Each seller chooses investment that determines the quality of the good. This quality is the seller's private information before matching and it will be observed in a match. Sellers enter a search market competitively and can choose either to post prices or to bargain. In this environment, a pricing mechanism affects efficiency through the choice of quality and the number of trades. Bargaining induces the efficient choice of quality but an inefficient number of trades because the division of the match surplus is generically inefficient. By directing buyers' search, posted prices internalize search externalities and induce the constrained efficient outcome in the case of public information. However, when the quality is private information, this role of posted prices in directing search can conflict with their role in signaling quality. Focusing on this conflict, we find that bargaining could yield higher efficiency than price posting. We characterize the parameter regions in which each of the two mechanisms dominates in efficiency.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-298.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 12 Sep 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-298
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  1. Peters, Michael, 1991. "Ex Ante Price Offers in Matching Games Non-steady States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1425-54, September.
  2. Forand, Jean Guillaume, 2013. "Competing through information provision," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 438-451.
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  4. Moen, Espen R, 1997. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 385-411, April.
  5. Veronica Guerrieri & Robert Shimer & Randall Wright, 2010. "Adverse Selection in Competitive Search Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(6), pages 1823-1862, November.
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  7. Peters, Michael & Severinov, Sergei, 1997. "Competition among Sellers Who Offer Auctions Instead of Prices," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 141-179, July.
  8. Kenneth Burdett & Shouyong Shi & Randall Wright, 2001. "Pricing and Matching with Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1060-1085, October.
  9. Francisco M. Gonzalez & Shouyong Shi, 2008. "An Equilibrium Theory of Learning, Search and Wages," Working Papers tecipa-328, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  10. Michelacci, Claudio & Suarez, Javier, 2002. "Incomplete Wage Posting," CEPR Discussion Papers 3658, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  15. Peters, Michael, 1984. "Bertrand Equilibrium with Capacity Constraints and Restricted Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(5), pages 1117-27, September.
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  17. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
  18. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, March.
  19. Veronica Guerrieri, 2008. "Inefficient Unemployment Dynamics under Asymmetric Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 667-708, 08.
  20. Bester, Helmut, 1993. "Bargaining versus Price Competition in Markets with Quality Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 278-88, March.
  21. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2011. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle," Working Papers tecipa-437, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  22. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2008. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-010, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 28 Feb 2009.
  23. Wolinsky, Asher, 1983. "Prices as Signals of Product Quality," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 647-58, October.
  24. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
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