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Search Intermediaries

Author

Listed:
  • Xianwen Shi
  • Aloysius Siow

Abstract

In frictional matching markets with heterogeneous buyers and sellers, sellers incur discrete showing costs to show goods to buyers who incur discrete inspection costs to assess the suitability of the goods on offer. This paper studies how brokers can help reduce these costs by managing the level and mix of goods in their inventory. We find that intermediaries emerge and improve social welfare when there is sufficient heterogeneity in the types of goods and preferences. Our analysis highlights how learning and inventory management enable search intermediaries to internalize information externalities generated in unintermediated private search.

Suggested Citation

  • Xianwen Shi & Aloysius Siow, 2011. "Search Intermediaries," Working Papers tecipa-426, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-426
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    File URL: https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/public/workingPapers/tecipa-426.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alok Johri & John Leach, 2002. "Middlemen and the Allocation of Heterogeneous Goods," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(2), pages 347-362, May.
    2. Ken Burdett & Melvyn G. Coles, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-168.
    3. Gabriele Camera & Alain Delacroix, 2004. "Trade Mechanism Selection in Markets with Frictions," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(4), pages 851-868, October.
    4. Alp E. Atakan, 2006. "Assortative Matching with Explicit Search Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(3), pages 667-680, May.
    5. Yavas, Abdullah, 1992. "Marketmakers versus matchmakers," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 33-58, March.
    6. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 1998. "Learning from the Behavior of Others: Conformity, Fads, and Informational Cascades," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 151-170, Summer.
    7. James Albrecht & Axel Anderson & Eric Smith & Susan Vroman, 2007. "Opportunistic Matching In The Housing Market," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(2), pages 641-664, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dasgupta, Kunal & Mondria, Jordi, 2018. "Quality uncertainty and intermediation in international trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 68-91.
    2. Bar-Isaac, Heski & Gavazza, Alessandro, 2015. "Brokers’ contractual arrangements in the Manhattan residential rental market," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 73-82.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Search; Intermediation; Brokers; Housing Markets;

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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