DRAFT

Ulric B. and Evelyn L. Bray Social Sciences Seminar

Wednesday, November 4, 2020
12:00pm to 1:00pm
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Online Event
How to Sell Hard Information
S. Nageeb Ali, Professor of Economics, Pennsylvania State University,

Abstract: 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.

Written with Nima Haghpanah, Xiao Lin, and Ron Siegel. Professor Ali will be joined by guests Elliott Lipnowski and Philipp Strack.

How to view the seminar:
Sign up for a free twitch.tv account, and tune in on Wednesdays at noon pacific time on twitch.tv/caltechecontheory. You will be able to ask questions on the twitch chat.

For more information, please contact Letty Diaz by email at letty.diaz@caltech.edu.