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Asymmetric information in a bilateral monopoly

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  • This paper explores the role of the asymmetry in information in business to business (B2B) transactions. In a vertical setting with successive monopolies we present the equivalence that holds under complete information, that is, the profitability of the powerful party does not depend on its position in the industry and we investigate how potential information advantages affect this relationship. We demonstrate that under asymmetric information this equivalence breaks down and a firm that is positioned in the downstream sector reduces more effectively the information rents that it has to sacrifice for a truthful reporting, but the consumers remain indifferent. Under wholesale price contracts consumers prefer the less informed party to be at the downstream level since the excessive pricing distortion is less intense. Moreover, if second degree of price discrimination is not allowed then the principal prefers to be at the upstream level of production and consumers are better off in this case which comes in contrast to our previous results.
    Mathematics Subject Classification: Primary: 91A28, 91A80.


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