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Communicating Vertical Hierarchies: the Adverse Selection Case

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Abstract

I study the rationale for information sharing in a model where two principals, which exert production externalities one on another, endogenously decide whether to exchange information about their exclusive agents. I show that one novel effect shapes communication decisions when agents are privately informed about production costs. This effect is absent under complete information and it turns out to be of first-order magnitude relative to those emerging in such benchmark. Roughly, what matters is how sharing information impacts contracting relationships within opponent organizations, and therefore its effect on equilibrium outputs. Information exchange induces strategies to be correlated via the distortions channel. Because of those distortions, the equilibrium value of communication depends on the interplay between the nature of upstream externalities and the sign of cost correlation. When upstream externalities and cost correlation have the same sign, there exists a unique symmetric equilibrium with no communication. By contrast, when upstream externalities and cost correlation have opposite signs there exists a unique symmetric equilibrium where both principals share information. I also show that, unlike in previous models, under asymmetric information principals might run into a prisoner dilemma when there is no communication at equilibrium. Information sharing is also shown to have an unambiguous negative effect on rents. Moreover, there exists a system of transfers such that the equilibrium outcome obtained when both principals share information is collusion-proof.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 273.

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Date of creation: 09 Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:273

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Keywords: Adverse selection; communication; information sharing; vertical hierarchies;

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  1. Alessandro Pavan, 2004. "On the Optimality of Privacy in Sequential Contracting," Theory workshop papers 658612000000000067, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Gromb, Denis & Martimort, David, 2004. "The Organization of Delegated Expertise," CEPR Discussion Papers 4572, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Michael Manove & A. Jorge Padilla & Marco Pagano, 1998. "Collateral vs. Project Screening: A Model of Lazy Banks," CSEF Working Papers 10, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
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  7. Federco Etro & Michela Cella, 2010. "Oligopolistic Screening and Two-way distortion," Working Papers 200, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2010.
  8. Caillaud, Bernard & Jullien, B & Picard, P, 1995. "Competing Vertical Structures: Precommitment and Renegotiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(3), pages 621-46, May.
  9. Pagano, Marco & Jappelli, Tullio, 1993. " Information Sharing in Credit Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 1693-1718, December.
  10. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, September.
  11. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Martimort, David, 1998. "Mechanism Design with Collusion and Correlation," IDEI Working Papers 81, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  12. Curtis R. Taylor, 2004. "Consumer Privacy and the Market for Customer Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(4), pages 631-650, Winter.
  13. David Martimort, 1996. "Exclusive Dealing, Common Agency, and Multiprincipals Incentive Theory," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 1-19, Spring.
  14. repec:pse:psecon:2008-10 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Manove, Michael & Padilla, A Jorge & Pagano, Marco, 2001. "Collateral versus Project Screening: A Model of Lazy Banks," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(4), pages 726-44, Winter.
  16. Bertoletti, Paolo & Poletti, Clara, 1997. "X-Inefficiency, Competition and Market Information," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 359-75, December.
  17. Norbert Maier & Marco Ottaviani, 2009. "Information Sharing in Common Agency: When is Transparency Good?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(1), pages 162-187, 03.
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