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Competing with Asking Prices

By Benjamin Lester, Ludo Visschers and Ronald Wolthoff


In many markets, sellers advertise their good with an asking price. This is a price at which the seller will take his good off the market and trade immediately, though it is understood that a buyer can submit an offer below the asking price and that this offer may be accepted if the seller receives no better offers. Despite their prevalence in a variety of real world markets, asking prices have received little attention in the academic literature. We construct an environment with a few simple, realistic ingredients and demonstrate that using an asking price is optimal: it is the pricing mechanism that maximizes sellers’ revenues and it implements the efficient outcome in equilibrium. We provide a complete characterization of this equilibrium and use it to explore the positive implications of this pricing mechanism for transaction prices and allocations

Topics: Asking Prices, Directed Search, Inspection Costs, Efficiency
Publisher: University of Edinburgh
Year: 2014
OAI identifier:
Provided by: SIRE

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