An Equilibrium Theory of Rationing
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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- Martin L. Weitzman, 1977.
"Is the Price System or Rationing More Effective in Getting a Commodity to Those Who Need It Most?,"
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- Klemperer, Paul D & Meyer, Margaret A, 1989. "Supply Function Equilibria in Oligopoly under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1243-1277, November.
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