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How to Sell Hard Information (with Nima Haghpanah, Xiao Lin and Ron Siegel)

Microeconomics Seminar 2020-2021
joint with the Département de sciences économiques, Université de Montréal

Organizer : Sean Horan (U. of Montreal)

* Invitation only. Please contact the organizer if you would like access.


Résumé : The seller of an asset has the option to buy hard information about the value of the asset from an intermediary. The seller can then disclose the acquired information before selling the asset in a competitive market. We study how the intermediary designs and sells hard information to robustly maximize her revenue across all equilibria. Even though the intermediary could use an accurate test that reveals the asset’s value, we show that robust revenue maximization leads to a noisy test with a continuum of possible scores that are distributed exponentially. In addition, the intermediary always charges the seller for disclosing the test score to the market, but not necessarily for running the test. This enables the intermediary to robustly appropriate a significant share of the surplus resulting from the asset sale even though the information generated by the test provides no social value.

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