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An Equilibrium Theory of Rationing

  • Richard J. Gilbert

    (University of California Berkeley)

  • Paul Klemperer

    (Nuffield College University of Oxford)

Setting a price that results in rationing may be optimal for a seller whose customers must make a specific investment to be able to use its product. Rationing results in ex-post inefficiency, but the resulting distribution of ex-post surplus can compensate consumers for their transaction-specific investments at a lower cost to the seller's profits than would market-clearing prices. Similarly, it may be optimal for a purchaser to procure some of its requirements from a high-cost "second source" rather than purchase only from the lowest-cost supplier.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/mic/papers/9907/9907005.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Microeconomics with number 9907005.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 19 Jul 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmi:9907005
Note: Type of Document - Word/PDF; prepared on IBM PC - PC-TEX/UNIX Sparc TeX; to print on HP/PostScript; pages: 34 ; figures: included. We never published this piece and now we would like to reduce our mailing and xerox cost by posting it.
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Levin, Dan & Smith, James L, 1994. "Equilibrium in Auctions with Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 585-99, June.
  2. Margaret E. Slade, 1991. "Strategic Pricing with Customer Rationing: The Case of Primary Metals," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 24(1), pages 70-100, February.
  3. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  4. Martin L. Weitzman, 1977. "Is the Price System or Rationing More Effective in Getting a Commodity to Those Who Need It Most?," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 8(2), pages 517-524, Autumn.
  5. Png, I P L, 1991. "Most-Favored-Customer Protection versus Price Discrimination over Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 1010-28, October.
  6. Stole, Lars A., 1994. "Information expropriation and moral hazard in optimal second-source auctions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 463-484, July.
  7. Rotemberg, Julio J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1990. "Inflexible Prices and Procyclical Productivity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(4), pages 851-74, November.
  8. Klemperer, Paul D & Meyer, Margaret A, 1989. "Supply Function Equilibria in Oligopoly under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1243-77, November.
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