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A Note On The Inefficiency Of Bargaining Over The Price Of A Share

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Executive Summary

The authors study the problem of dissolving a partnership when agents have unequal endowments. Agents bid on the price of the entire partnership. The highest bidder is awarded the partnership and buys out her partners' shares at a per-unit price that is a function of the two highest bids. They show that there exists no price-setting mechanism satisfying certain mild regularity properties that is ex-post efficient, for any common prior of valuations. This result sharply contrasts the equal-endowment case in which efficient dissolution of the sort they are examining is possible through a simple k-double auction, as suggested by Cramton, Gibbons, and Klemperer.

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