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We study equilibrium prices and trade volume in a market with several identical buyers and a seller who commits to an inventory and then offers goods sequentially. Prices are determined by a strategic costly bargaining process with a random sequence of proponents. A unique subgame perfect equilibrium exists, characterized by no costly delays and heterogeneous sale prices. In equilibrium constraining capacity is a bargaining tactic the seller uses to improve a weak bargaining position. With capacity constraints, sale prices approach the outcome of an auction as bargaining costs vanish. The framework provides a building block for price formation in models of equilibrium search with multilateral matching, and offers a rationale for the adoption of single-unit auctions with fixed reservation price.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Review of Economic Dynamics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Review of Economic Dynamics, volume 13 (2010). DOI: 10.1016/

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