49 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2004 Last revised: 23 Jul 2010
Date Written: October 2004
We study how intermediation and asset prices in over-the-counter markets are affected by illiquidity associated with search and bargaining. We compute explicitly the prices at which investors trade with each other as well as marketmakers' bid and ask prices in a dynamic model with strategic agents. Bid-ask spreads are lower if investors can more easily find other investors, or have easier access to multiple marketmakers. With a monopolistic marketmaker, bid-ask spreads are higher if investors have easier access to the marketmaker. We characterize endogenous search and welfare, and discuss empirical implications.
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