AbstractIn this paper, we introduce the notion of transferable control, defined as a situation where one party (the principal, say) can transfer control to another party (the agent) but cannot commit herself to do so. One theoretical foundation for this notion builds on the distinction between formal and real authority introduced by Aghion and Tirole, in which the actual exercise of authority may require noncontractible information, absent which formal control rights are vacuous. We use this notion to study the extent to which control transfers may allow an agent to reveal information regarding his ability or willingness to cooperate with the principal in the future. We show that the distinction between contractible and transferable control can drastically influence how learning takes place: with contractible control, information about the agent can often be acquired through revelation mechanisms that involve communication and message-contingent control allocations; in contrast, when control is transferable but not contractible, it can be optimal to transfer control unconditionally and learn instead from the way in which the agent exercises control.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 4481511.
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of the European Economic Association
Other versions of this item:
- C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
- D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
- L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
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