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Contracting for an Innovation under Bilateral Asymmetric Information

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  • Martimort, David
  • Poudou, Jean-Christophe
  • Sand-Zantman, Wilfried

Abstract

This article analyzes the optimal contract design between an inventor and a developer. The inventor is privately informed on the value of his idea. The developer must exert some non-verifiable effort to improve the probability of success of this innovation but may also choose to opt out of the relationship upon learning the quality of the idea. While first-best efficiency requires that all marginal returns on innovation be left to the developer, second-best efficiency taking into account this bilateral asymmetric information leads to distort downwards the developer’s incentives to prevent innovators from overstating the value of their ideas. There exists a trade-off between inviting inventor to reveal their ideas and inducing both effort and participation from the developer. The extent of this trade-off depends on the regime of property rights on ideas, i.e., on how easy to steal ideas. Since decreasing the marginal share of developers makes it more difficult to have them participating to the contract, countervailing incentives might sometimes appear. Taking into account those various effects leads to reduce the responsiveness of the contract to the exact value of the idea and might force to give up additional rents to the developer. Some extensions of our framework, including the cases of limited commitment, partial disclosure and double moral hazard, are studied to show the robustness and limits of our previous findings.

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Paper provided by Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) in its series TSE Working Papers with number 09-058.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Publication status: Published in The Journal of Industrial Economics, vol.�58, n°2, mai 2010, p.�324-348.
Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:21917

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References

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  1. Beaudry, Paul, 1994. "Why an Informed Principal May Leave Rents to an Agent," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 35(4), pages 821-32, November.
  2. James J. Anton & Dennis A. Yao, 2003. "Patents, Invalidity, and the Strategic Transmission of Enabling Information," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 151-178, 06.
  3. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "The Management of Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1185-1209, November.
  4. Hellmann, Thomas F & Perotti, Enrico C, 2006. "The Circulation of Ideas: Firms Versus Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 5469, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1992. "The Principal-Agent Relationship with an Informed Principal, II: Common Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 1-42, January.
  6. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "On the Management of Innovation," IDEI Working Papers 36, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  7. Anton, James J & Yao, Dennis A, 2002. "The Sale of Ideas: Strategic Disclosure, Property Rights, and Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(3), pages 513-31, July.
  8. Inderst, Roman, 2001. "Incentive schemes as a signaling device," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 455-465, April.
  9. Mailath, George J, 1987. "Incentive Compatibility in Signaling Games with a Continuum of Types," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1349-65, November.
  10. Lewis, Tracy R. & Sappington, David E. M., 1989. "Countervailing incentives in agency problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 294-313, December.
  11. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Opening the black box of innovation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 701-710, April.
  12. Maggi G. & Rodriguez-Clare A., 1995. "On Countervailing Incentives," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 238-263, June.
  13. Nancy T. Gallini & Brian D. Wright, 1990. "Technology Transfer under Asymmetric Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(1), pages 147-160, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. Bernhard Ganglmair & Luke M. Froeb & Gregory J. Werden, 2012. "Patent Hold-Up and Antitrust: How A Well-Intentioned Rule Could Retard Innovation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(2), pages 249-273, 06.
  2. Martimort, David & Poudou, Jean-Christophe & Sand-Zantman, Wilfried, 2009. "Contracting and Ideas Disclosure in the Innovation Process," TSE Working Papers 09-053, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  3. Fabrizi, Simona & Lippert, Steffen & Norbäck, Pehr-Johan & Persson, Lars, 2011. "Venture Capital, Patenting, and Usefulness of Innovations," CEPR Discussion Papers 8392, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Shirley J. , HO, 2007. "R&D Outsourcing Contract with Information Leakage," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2007026, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
  5. Evans, Shane, 2010. "Innovation contracts with leakage through licensing," Working Papers 10282, University of Tasmania, School of Economics and Finance, revised 05 Oct 2010.
  6. Paul Castãneda Dower & Andrei Bremzen, 2012. "Almost Anonymous Implicit Contracting," Working Papers w0187, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).

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