An incentive efficient market for mechanisms in large Akerlof economies

Alex Citanna, Paolo Siconolfi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study ‘Akerlof economies’, that is, economies where goods come in qualities unknown to buyers, and sellers’ quality can be ranked. Cross-subsidies at the constrained efficient allocation arise, even when there are few high-quality types in the economy. Thus, Akerlof’s markets are poorly suited to deliver constrained efficient outcomes. We then design a competitive market for mechanisms. Agents buy lottery tickets to enter mechanisms, and the price system clears the markets. Firms offer tickets to mechanisms on the basis of ‘input’ prices which, unlike in Akerlof’s competitive markets, are quality dependent. Under standard sorting conditions, we show that a ‘no-price-cut’ competitive equilibrium exists and is incentive efficient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEconomic Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Adverse selection
  • Competition
  • Decentralization
  • Efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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