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Pricing and Signaling with Frictions

  • Alain Delacroix
  • Shouyong Shi

We study a large market with directed search and signaling. Each seller chooses an investment that determines the quality of the good which is the seller's private information. A seller also chooses the price of the good and the number of selling sites. After observing sellers' choices of prices and sites, but not quality, buyers choose which price to search. The sites posting the same price and the buyers searching for that price match with each other randomly. In this environment, a seller's choices of prices and sites can direct buyers' search decisions and signal quality ex-ante. After matching, a buyer also receives an imperfectly informative signal about the quality of the good and decides whether to trade at the posted price. When the latter signal received is sufficiently accurate, we prove that there is a unique equilibrium. Moreover, when the quality differential is large, the equilibrium (under private information) implements the socially efficient allocation under public information. When the quality differential is small, the equilibrium is inefficient in the quality of goods produced or/and the number of sites created. This inefficiency is caused by a conflict between the search-directing role and the signaling role of a posted price. We also compare the price-posting equilibrium with the equilibrium under bargaining. The bargaining equilibrium features efficient quality, but inefficient entry. It is superior to the price-posting equilibrium when a seller's bargaining power is intermediate and the quality differential is small.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-455.

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Length: Unknown pages
Date of creation: 18 May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-455
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  1. Burdett, Kenneth & Judd, Kenneth L, 1983. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 955-69, July.
  2. Moen, E.R., 1995. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Memorandum 37/1995, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  3. Cho, In-Koo & Kreps, David M, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221, May.
  4. Guido Menzio & Shouyong Shi, 2008. "Efficient Search on the Job and the Business Cycle," PIER Working Paper Archive 08-029, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  5. Jean Guillaume Forand, 2012. "Competing Through Information Provision," Working Papers 1201, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2012.
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  9. 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.
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  11. 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.
  12. Francisco M. Gonzalez & Shouyong Shi, 2009. "An Equilibrium Theory of Learning, Search and Wages," Working Papers tecipa-384, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  13. Veronica Guerrieri, 2008. "Inefficient Unemployment Dynamics under Asymmetric Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 667-708, 08.
  14. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, March.
  15. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1998. "Holdups and Efficiency with Search Frictions," Working papers 98-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  16. 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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  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. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Guido Menzio, 2007. "A Theory of Partially Directed Search," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-006, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  23. Peters, Michael, 1991. "Ex Ante Price Offers in Matching Games Non-steady States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1425-54, September.
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