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Efficient Delegation by an Informed Principal

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  • Thomas A. Gresik
  • Eric W. Bond

Abstract

Consider the case of a firm with private valuation information bargaining with a supplier over the price and quantity of a good. If the firm and the supplier bargain directly, the bargaining outcome may not yield a first-best outcome due to the presence of information rents. The question we examine in this paper is whether these direct bargaining inefficiencies can be eliminated if the firm delegates the authority to negotiate with the supplier to an agent. We model the agent as an independent profit center that contracts with the parent firm as well as the supplier. The delegation of decision-making to the agent can influence the interaction between the firm and the supplier by altering the information rents the agent can claim from the supplier. To identify the role of delegation, we focus instead on two games. Both games have a continuum of equilibria, which we compare to the set of incentive efficient equilibria of the initial no-delegation bargaining game. The first game involves partial delegation as the firm controls the release of its private information through a public transfer price charged to the agent. Because the relationship between the agent and the uninformed supplier is one of full information, the unique equilibrium quantity is first-best yet we show that the informed firm still earns an information rent. The second game involves full delegation as the agent controls both the quantity choice and the release of the firm's private information. We show that the full delegation game has a large set of equilibria that includes all of the incentive efficient equilibria of the bargaining game as well as inefficient equilibria. We believe our notion of partial delegation can be reflected in firms organized as profit centers and the management practice of category management

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings with number 42.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:nawm04:42

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Keywords: Delegation; common agency;

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