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Information Externalities and Intermediaries in Frictional Search Markets

  • Xianwen Shi
  • Aloysius Siow

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. We study how brokers can help reduce these costs by managing the level and mix of goods in their inventory. Intermediaries emerge and improve social welfare when there is sufficient heterogeneity in the types of goods and preferences. Learning and inventory management enable search intermediaries to internalize information externalities generated in unintermediated private search.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-496.

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Date of creation: 10 Sep 2013
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Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-496
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  1. Shi Shougong, 1995. "Money and Prices: A Model of Search and Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 467-496, December.
  2. Edward A. Baryla & Leonard V. Zumpano, 1995. "Buyer Search Duration in the Residential Real Estate Market: The Role of the Real Estate Agent," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 10(1), pages 1-14.
  3. John Rust & George Hall, 2003. "Middlemen versus Market Makers: A Theory of Competitive Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(2), pages 353-403, April.
  4. Daniel F. Spulber, 1996. "Market Making by Price-Setting Firms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 559-580.
  5. 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.
  6. Trejos, Alberto & Wright, Randall, 1995. "Search, Bargaining, Money, and Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 118-41, February.
  7. Camera, Gabriele & Delacroix, Alain, 2003. "Trade Mechanism Selection in Markets with Frictions," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1166, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  8. Gehrig, Thomas, 1993. "Intermediation in Search Markets," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(1), pages 97-120, Spring.
  9. Douglas W. Diamond, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414.
  10. 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.
  11. Igal Hendel & Aviv Nevo & François Ortalo-Magné, 2007. "The Relative Performance of Real Estate Marketing Platforms: MLS versus FSBOMadison.com," NBER Working Papers 13360, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Alp E. Atakan, 2006. "Assortative Matching with Explicit Search Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(3), pages 667-680, 05.
  13. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Meer, 2007. "How Much do Real Estate Brokers Add? A Case Study," Discussion Papers 06-041, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  14. Gary Biglaiser, 1993. "Middlemen as Experts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(2), pages 212-223, Summer.
  15. Li, Yiting, 1998. "Middlemen and private information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 131-159, June.
  16. Morgan, Peter & Manning, Richard, 1985. "Optimal Search," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 923-44, July.
  17. Asher Wolinsky, 1983. "Retail Trade Concentration Due to Consumers' Imperfect Information," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(1), pages 275-282, Spring.
  18. Jeffrey H. Fischer & Joseph E. Harrington Jr., 1996. "Product Variety and Firm Agglomeration," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(2), pages 281-309, Summer.
  19. Wheaton, William C, 1990. "Vacancy, Search, and Prices in a Housing Market Matching Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1270-92, December.
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