The Ratchet Principle in a Principal Agent Game with Unknown Costs: An Experimental Analysis
AbstractIn this paper we consider an experimental two-period game characterized by incomplete information.The agent produces an output for the principal and can have either high or low costs of production. The principal ex ante knows only that each is equally likely. The principal's aim is to extract the maximum possible surplus from the agent. The principal sets an output quota at the beginning of each period and does not commit to a long-term scheme and uses any information that becomes available about the agent's true type in setting next period's quota in order to extract the informational rent. We find that the agents play the game in a naive way - very often revealing their true types through their choices even though such type revelation is not optimal. However frequently the principal does not exploit this information in extracting more of the informational rent from the agent.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Rutgers University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 199608.
Date of creation: 17 Jul 1997
Date of revision:
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Adverse selection; Bargaining; Principal-agent theory; Ratcheting; Reciprocity;
Other versions of this item:
- Chaudhuri, Ananish, 1998. "The ratchet principle in a principal agent game with unknown costs: an experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, November.
- C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
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