The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper examines the role of middlemen (brokers) in an imperfect secondary market for quota licenses. Middlemen facilitate trade when markets are thin, as potential buyers and sellers find it difficult to meet and transact directly. However, in thin markets, middlemen also have the ability to influence the terms on which trades occur, and the wedge they create between the buying and selling price limits the extent to which they facilitate trade. We develop and simulate a model of quota broker behavior to examine their welfare implications.