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Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
Working Papers
Screening and adverse selection in frictional markets
Benjamin Lester
Ali Shourideh
Venky Venkateswaran
Ariel Zetlin-Jones
Abstract

We incorporate a search-theoretic model of imperfect competition into an otherwise standard model of asymmetric information with unrestricted contracts. We develop a methodology that allows for a sharp analytical characterization of the unique equilibrium and then use this characterization to explore the interaction between adverse selection, screening, and imperfect competition. On the positive side, we show how the structure of equilibrium contracts—and, hence, the relationship between an agent’s type, the quantity he trades, and the corresponding price—is jointly determined by the severity of adverse selection and the concentration of market power. This suggests that quantifying the effects of adverse selection requires controlling for the market structure. On the normative side, we show that increasing competition and reducing informational asymmetries can be detrimental to welfare. This suggests that recent attempts to increase competition and reduce opacity in markets that suffer from adverse selection could potentially have negative, unforeseen consequences


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Benjamin Lester & Ali Shourideh & Venky Venkateswaran & Ariel Zetlin-Jones, Screening and adverse selection in frictional markets, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Working Papers 16-10, 10 Mar 2016.
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Keywords: Adverse selection; Imperfect competition; Screening; Transparency; Search theory
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