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A Theory of Authority in Bilateral Contracting

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Two players are involved in a joint project during which a decision must be reached. Each player has private information about future profits. Authority gives one player the right to decide first in a pre-defined set of alternatives. In this framework, I show that (partial) authority should be assigned to the player who gets the highest share of the total surplus. This organizational architecture replicates the performance of an optimal revelation mechanism without the cost of hiring a third party acting as a principal.

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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 102.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2003
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Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:102

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Keywords: Contract; asymmetric information; control rights; limited liability; hidden information;

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  1. Michel Poitevin, 2000. "Can the theory of incentives explain decentralization?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(4), pages 878-906, November.
  2. Macho-Stadler, Ines & Perez-Castrillo, J David, 1998. "Centralized and Decentralized Contracts in a Moral Hazard Environment," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 489-510, December.
  3. Laffont, J.J. & Martimort, D., 1996. "Collusion Under Asymmetric Information," Papers 95.389, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  4. Melamad, N. & Mookherjee, D. & Reichelstein, S., 1996. "Contract Complexity, Incentives and the Value of Delegation," Papers 70, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  5. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Cremer, Jacques, 1995. "Arm's Length Relationships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 275-95, May.
  7. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 70, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Mookherjee, Dilip & Reichelstein, Stefan, 1992. "Dominant strategy implementation of Bayesian incentive compatible allocation rules," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 378-399, April.
  9. Wouter Dessein, 2002. "Authority and Communication in Organizations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 811-838.
  10. Bester, Helmut, 2002. "Externalities and the Allocation of Decision Rights in the Theory of the Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 3276, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Sappington, David, 1983. "Limited liability contracts between principal and agent," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-21, February.
  12. d'Aspremont, Claude & Gerard-Varet, Louis-Andre, 1979. "Incentives and incomplete information," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 25-45, February.
  13. Krähmer, Daniel, 2002. "Delegation versus authority," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance FS IV 02-26, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  14. Lerner, Josh & Merges, Robert P, 1998. "The Control of Technology Alliances: An Empirical Analysis of the Biotechnology Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 125-56, June.
  15. Myerson, Roger B., 1982. "Optimal coordination mechanisms in generalized principal-agent problems," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 67-81, June.
  16. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1990. "The Principal-Agent Relationship with an Informed Principal: The Case of Private Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(2), pages 379-409, March.
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