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Screening Ethics when Honest Agents Care about Fairness

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Author Info

  • Ingela Alger

    ()
    (Boston College)

  • Regis Renault

    ()
    (GEMMA, Université de Caen)

Abstract

We explore the potential for discriminating between honest and dishonest agents, when a principal faces an agent with private information about the circumstances of the exchange (good or bad). When honest agents reveal circumstances truthfully independently of the contract offered, the principal leaves a rent only to dishonest agents (even if honest agents are willing to lie about their ethics); the principal is able to screen between good and bad circumstances. In contrast, if honest behavior is conditional on the contract being fair, the principal cannot screen along the ethics dimension. If the probability that the agent is dishonest is large, the optimal mechanism is as if the agent were dishonest with certainty (standard second best). Otherwise, it is as if the agent were honest with certainty (first best). In the latter case, the principal is unable to screen between circumstances if the agent is dishonest.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 489.

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Date of creation: 30 Nov 2000
Date of revision: 09 Nov 2004
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:489

Note: This paper was previously circulated as "Screening among Agents with Heterogeneous Ethics".
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Related research

Keywords: ethics; honesty; adverse selection; screening;

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References

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  1. Lacker, J.M., 1989. "Optimal Contracts Under Costly State Falsification," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 956, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  2. Keith J. Crocker & John Morgan, 1998. "Is Honesty the Best Policy? Curtailing Insurance Fraud through Optimal Incentive Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 355-375, April.
  3. F. Forges & Frederic Koessler, 2003. "Communication Equilibria with Partially Verifiable Types," THEMA Working Papers 2003-10, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  4. Brian Erard & Jonathan S. Feinstein, 1994. "Honesty and Evasion in the Tax Compliance Game," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 1-19, Spring.
  5. Green, Jerry R & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1986. "Partially Verifiable Information and Mechanism Design," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 447-56, July.
  6. Dawes, Robyn M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "Anomalies: Cooperation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 187-97, Summer.
  7. Jaffee, Dwight M & Russell, Thomas, 1976. "Imperfect Information, Uncertainty, and Credit Rationing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 651-66, November.
  8. Ingela Alger & Regis Renault, 2003. "Screening Ethics when Honest Agents Keep their Word," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 562, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 09 Nov 2004.
  9. Picard, Pierre, 1996. "Auditing claims in the insurance market with fraud: The credibility issue," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 27-56, December.
  10. Ching-to Albert Ma & Ingela Alger, 1999. "Moral Hazard, Insurance and Some Collusion," FMG Discussion Papers dp318, Financial Markets Group.
  11. Tirole, Jean, 1991. "Collusion and the Theory of Organizations," IDEI Working Papers 9, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  12. Andreoni, J. & Erard, B. & Feinstein, J., 1996. "Tax Compliance," Working papers 9610r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Stephanie Rosenkranz & Patrick W. Schmitz, 2005. "Reserve prices in auctions as reference points," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse24_2005, University of Bonn, Germany.
  2. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2006. "Optimal Selling Strategies When Buyers May Have Hard Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 5747, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Stefano Demichelis & Jorgen W. Weibull, 2008. "Language, Meaning, and Games: A Model of Communication, Coordination, and Evolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1292-1311, September.
  4. Ingela Alger & Regis Renault, 2003. "Screening Ethics when Honest Agents Keep their Word," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 562, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 09 Nov 2004.
  5. Demichelis, Stefano & Weibull, Jörgen, 2006. "Efficiency, communication and honesty," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 645, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 28 Nov 2006.
  6. Felix Bierbrauer & Nick Netzer, 2012. "Mechanism design and intentions," ECON - Working Papers 066, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Apr 2014.
  7. Forges, Françoise & Koessler, Frédéric, 2005. "Communication equilibria with partially verifiable types," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/168, Paris Dauphine University.
  8. Conley, John P. & Neilson, William, 2009. "Endogenous games and equilibrium adoption of social norms and ethical constraints," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 761-774, July.
  9. Saran, Rene, 2011. "Bilateral trading with naive traders," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 544-557, June.
  10. Jeanne Hagenbach & Frédéric Koessler & Eduardo Perez-Richet, 2012. "Certifiable Pre-Play Communication: Full Disclosure," PSE Working Papers hal-00753473, HAL.
  11. repec:hal:wpaper:hal-00753473 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Laurent Denant-Boemont & David Masclet & Charles Noussair, 2005. "Announcement, Observation, and Honesty in the Voluntary Contributions Game," Emory Economics 0509, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  13. Deneckere, Raymond & Severinov, Sergei, 2008. "Mechanism design with partial state verifiability," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 487-513, November.
  14. Pezeshki, Yahya & Baboli, Armand & Cheikhrouhou, Naoufel & Modarres, Mohammad & Akbari Jokar, Mohammad R., 2013. "A rewarding-punishing coordination mechanism based on Trust in a divergent supply chain," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 230(3), pages 527-538.

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