Theoretical Economics, Volume 14, Number 1 ( 2019)

Theoretical Economics 14 (2019), 297–343

On competitive nonlinear pricing

Andrea Attar, Thomas Mariotti, François Salanié


We study a discriminatory limit-order book in which market makers compete in nonlinear tariffs to serve a privately informed insider. Our model allows for general nonparametric specifications of preferences and arbitrary discrete distributions for the insider's private information. Adverse selection severely restricts equilibrium outcomes: in any pure-strategy equilibrium with convex tariffs, pricing must be linear and at most one type can trade, leading to an extreme form of market breakdown. As a result, such equilibria only exist under exceptional circumstances that we fully characterize. These results are strikingly different from those of existing analyses that postulate a continuum of types. The two approaches can be reconciled when we consider E-equilibria of games with a large number of market makers or a large number of types.

Keywords: Adverse selection, competing mechanisms, limit-order book

JEL classification: D43, D82, D86

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