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Pre-Contractual Information Acquisition

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Abstract

We consider a principal-agent model in which the agent may acquire costly infor-mation about his e¤ort costs before he accepts a contract. The model departs from the literature in two ways: (1) the information is 'hard' in the sense that it can be credibly communicated, and (2) the parties are unable to commit to not renegotiate their contract. When the cost of acquiring information is low, the optimal contract induces information acquisition. In this case the contract is renegotiated and leaves the agent no rent. When the information cost is higher, the optimal contract induces the agent not to acquire information. In this case, if the cost is not too high, quantities are ine¢cient and the agent may receive rent. If the cost is yet higher, the contract again yields e¢cient quantities and leaves the agent no rent. These results hold also if parties can commit themselves not to renegotiate.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines in its series ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers with number inv154.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ila:ilades:inv154

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Keywords: Information Acquisition; Hard Information; Renegotiation.;

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  1. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114, January.
  2. Cremer, J. & Khalil, F. & Rochet, J-C., 1997. "Contracts and productive information gathering," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9707, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  3. Jean Tirole, 1985. "Procurement and Renegotiation," Working papers 362, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Crémer, Jacques & Khalil, Fahad & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1996. "Strategic Information Gathering Before a Contract Is Offered," IDEI Working Papers 61, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  5. Lewis Tracy R. & Sappington David E. M., 1993. "Ignorance in Agency Problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 169-183, October.
  6. Benjamin E. Hermalin and Michael L. Katz., 1990. "Moral Hazard and Verifiability: The Effects of Renegotiation in Agency," Economics Working Papers 90-141, University of California at Berkeley.
  7. Cremer, Jacques & Khalil, Fahad, 1992. "Gathering Information before Signing a Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 566-78, June.
  8. Mathias Dewatripont & Philippe Aghion & Patrick Rey, 1994. "Renegotiation design with unverifiable information," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9591, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  9. Cremer, Jacques, 1995. "Arm's Length Relationships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 275-95, May.
  10. Lewis, Tracy R. & Sappington, David E. M., 1991. "All-or-nothing information control," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 111-113, October.
  11. Mathias Dewatripont & Eric Maskin, 1995. "Contractual contingencies and renegotiation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9609, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  12. Sobel, Joel, 1993. "Information Control in the Principal-Agent Problem," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(2), pages 259-69, May.
  13. Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Vaimaki, 2000. "Information Acquisition and Efficient Mechanism Design," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1248, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  14. Craswell, Richard, 1988. "Precontractual Investigation as an Optimal Precaution Problem," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 401-36, June.
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