We study decentralized mechanisms for allocating firms into search pools. The pools are created in response to noisy preference signals provided by consumers, who then browse the pools via costly random sequential search. Surplus-maximizing search pools are implementable in symmetric Nash equilibrium. Full extraction of the maximal surplus is implementable if and only if the distribution of consumer types satisfies a set of simple inequalities, which involve the relative fractions of consumers who like different products and the Bhattacharyya coefficient of similarity between their conditional signal distributions. The optimal mechanism can be simulated by a keyword auction with broad matching.
|Number of pages||24|
|Journal||American Economic Review|
|State||Published - Mar 2016|