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Bilateral trade with loss-averse agents

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  • Jean-Michel Benkert

Abstract

The endowment and attachment effect are empirically well-documented in bilateral trade situations. Yet, the theoretical literature has so far failed to formally identify these effects. We fill this gap by introducing expectations-based loss aversion, which can explain both effects, into the classical setting by Myerson and Satterthwaite (1983). This allows us to formally identify the endowment and attachment effect and study their impact on information rents, allowing us to show that, in contrast to other behavioral approaches to the bilateral trade problem, the impossibility of inducing materially efficient trade persists in the presence of loss aversion. We then turn to the design of optimal mechanisms and consider the problem of maximizing the designer's revenue as well as gains from trade. We find that the designer optimally provides the agents with full insurance in the money dimension and, depending on the distribution of types, optimally increases or decreases the trade frequency in the presence of loss aversion.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Michel Benkert, 2015. "Bilateral trade with loss-averse agents," ECON - Working Papers 188, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Jul 2022.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:188
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jetlir Duraj, 2018. "Mechanism Design with News Utility," Papers 1808.04020, arXiv.org.
    2. Benjamin Balzer & Antonio Rosato, 2018. "Expectations-Based Loss Aversion in Common-Value Auctions: Extensive vs. Intensive Risk," Working Paper Series 50, Economics Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney.
    3. Matthias Lang, 2020. "Mechanism Design with Narratives," CESifo Working Paper Series 8502, CESifo.
    4. Benkert, Jean-Michel, 2022. "On the equivalence of optimal mechanisms with loss and disappointment aversion," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 214(C).
    5. Rosato, Antonio, 2017. "Sequential negotiations with loss-averse buyers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 290-304.
    6. Benjamin Balzer & Antonio Rosato, 2021. "Expectations-Based Loss Aversion in Auctions with Interdependent Values: Extensive vs. Intensive Risk," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 67(2), pages 1056-1074, February.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bilateral trade; loss-aversion; mechanism design; endowment and attachment effect;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General

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