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Keywords:

  • Directed search;
  • matching;
  • premuneration value;
  • prematch investments;
  • search
  • C78;
  • D40;
  • D41;
  • D50;
  • D83

Different markets are cleared by different types of prices: seller-specific prices that are uniform across buyers in some markets and personalized prices tailored to the buyer in others. We examine a setting in which buyers and sellers make investments before matching in a competitive market. We introduce the notion of premuneration values—the values to the transacting agents prior to any transfers—created by a buyer–seller match. Personalized-price equilibrium outcomes are independent of premuneration values and exhibit inefficiencies only in the event of “coordination failures,” while uniform-price equilibria depend on premuneration values and, in general, feature inefficient investments even without coordination failures. There is thus a trade-off between the costs of personalizing prices and the inefficient investments under uniform prices. We characterize the premuneration values under which uniform-price equilibria similarly exhibit inefficiencies only in the event of coordination failures.