Discussion paper

DP17615 Time Trumps Quantity in the Market for Lemons

We consider a dynamic adverse selection model where privately informed sellers of divisible assets can choose how much of their asset to sell at each point in time to competitive buyers. With commitment, delay and lower quantities are equivalent ways to signal higher quality. Only the discounted quantity traded is pinned down in equilibrium. With spot contracts and observable past trades, there is a unique and fully separating path of trades in equilibrium. Irrespective of the horizon and the frequency of trades, the same welfare is attained by each seller type as in the commitment case. When trades can take place continuously over time, each type trades all of its assets at a unique point in time. Thus, only delay is used to signal higher quality. When past trades are not observable, the equilibrium only coincides with the one with public histories when trading can take place continuously over time.


Fuchs, W, P Gottardi and H Moreira (2022), ‘DP17615 Time Trumps Quantity in the Market for Lemons‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 17615. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp17615