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Sequential Common Agency

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Author Info

  • Prat, A.
  • Rustichini, A.

    (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)

Abstract

In a common agency game a set of principals promises monetary transfers to an agent which depend on the action he will take. The agent then chooses the action, and is paid the corresponding transfers. Principals announce their transfers simultaneously. This game has many equilibria; Bernheim and Whinston ([1]) prove that the action chosen in the coalition-proof equilibrium is e±cient. The coalition-proof equilibria have an alternative characterization as truthful equilibria. The other equilibria may be inefficient. Here we study the sequential formulation of the common agency game: principals announce their transfers sequentially. We prove that the set of equilibria is different in many important ways. The outcome is efficient in all the equilibria. The truthful equilibria still exist, but are no longer coalition-proof. Focal equilibria are now a different type of equilibria, that we call thrifty. In thrifty equilibria of the sequential games, principals are better off (and the agent worse off) than in the truthful equilibria of the simultaneous common agency. These results suggest that the sequential game is more desirable institution, because it does not have ine±cient equilibrium outcomes; but it is less likely to emerge when agents have the power to design the institution.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 1998-95.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubcen:199895

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Web page: http://center.uvt.nl

Related research

Keywords: Common agency; sequential games; principal agent games; political influence;

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References

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  1. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1992. "Protection for Sale," Papers 162, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  2. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2001. "Lobbying and Welfare in a Representative Democracy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 67-82, January.
  3. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31, February.
  4. Simon, Leo K., 1987. "Local perfection," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 134-156, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Calzolari, Giacomo & Pavan, Alessandro, 2006. "On the optimality of privacy in sequential contracting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 168-204, September.
  2. Darren Filson, 2003. "Dynamic Common Agency, Vertical Integration, and Investment: The Economics of Movie Distribution," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2003-07, Claremont Colleges.
  3. Prat, A. & Rustichini, A., 1999. "Games Played Through Agents," Discussion Paper 1999-68, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Kirchsteiger, G. & Prat, A., 1999. "Common Agency and Computational Complexity: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Discussion Paper 1999-36, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.

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