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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. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2011. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 468 - 510.
  2. Rogerson, William P, 1988. "Price Advertising and the Deterioration of Product Quality," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 215-29, April.
  3. Michael Peters & Sergei Severinov, 1995. "Competition Among Sellers who offer Auctions Instead of Prices," Working Papers peters-95-02, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  4. Paul R. Milgrom & John Roberts, 1984. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 709, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Veronica Guerrieri & Robert Shimer & Randall Wright, 2010. "Adverse Selection in Competitive Search Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(6), pages 1823-1862, November.
  6. Guido Menzio, 2007. "A Theory of Partially Directed Search," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 748-769, October.
  7. Grossman, Sanford J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1980. "On the Impossibility of Informationally Efficient Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 393-408, June.
  8. Shouyong Shi & Francisco Gonzalez, 2009. "An Equilibrium Theory of Learning, Search and Wages," 2009 Meeting Papers 27, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Moen, E.R., 1995. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Memorandum 37/1995, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  10. Jean Guillaume Forand, 2007. "Competing Through Information Provision," 2007 Meeting Papers 661, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Claudio Michelacci & Javier Suarez, 2006. "Incomplete Wage Posting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 1098-1123, December.
  12. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
  13. 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.
  14. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1998. "Holdups and Efficiency with Search Frictions," Working papers 98-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  15. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 896, David K. Levine.
  16. Shouyong Shi, 2009. "Directed Search for Equilibrium Wage-Tenure Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 561-584, 03.
  17. Wolinsky, Asher, 1983. "Prices as Signals of Product Quality," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 647-58, October.
  18. Peters, Michael, 1991. "Ex Ante Price Offers in Matching Games Non-steady States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1425-54, September.
  19. 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.
  20. Peters, Michael, 1984. "Bertrand Equilibrium with Capacity Constraints and Restricted Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(5), pages 1117-27, September.
  21. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, March.
  22. Veronica Guerrieri, 2008. "Inefficient Unemployment Dynamics under Asymmetric Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 667-708, 08.
  23. 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.
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