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Behavioral Constraints on the Design of Subgame-Perfect Implementation Mechanisms

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  • Ernst Fehr
  • Michael Powell
  • Tom Wilkening

Abstract

We study subgame-perfect implementation (SPI) mechanisms that have been proposed as a solution to incomplete contracting problems. We show that these mechanisms, which are based on off-equilibrium arbitration clauses that impose large fines for lying and the inappropriate use of arbitration, have severe behavioral constraints because the fines induce retaliation against legitimate uses of arbitration. Incorporating reciprocity preferences into the theory explains the observed behavioral patterns and helps us develop a new mechanism that is more robust and achieves high rates of truth-telling and efficiency. Our results highlight the importance of tailoring implementation mechanisms to the underlying behavioral environment.

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  • Ernst Fehr & Michael Powell & Tom Wilkening, 2021. "Behavioral Constraints on the Design of Subgame-Perfect Implementation Mechanisms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 111(4), pages 1055-1091, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:111:y:2021:i:4:p:1055-91
    DOI: 10.1257/aer.20170297
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Barron & Yingni Guo, 0. "The Use and Misuse of Coordinated Punishments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 136(1), pages 471-504.
    2. Philippe Aghion & Ernst Fehr & Richard Holden & Tom Wilkening, 2018. "The Role of Bounded Rationality and Imperfect Information in Subgame Perfect Implementation—An Empirical Investigation," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 232-274.
    3. Tatsuyoshi Saijo & Takehito Masuda & Takafumi Yamakawa, "undated". "Approval Mechanism to Solve Prisoner’s Dilemma: Comparison with Varian’s Compensation Mechanism," Working Papers SDES-2016-15, Kochi University of Technology, School of Economics and Management.
    4. Sylvain Chassang & Christian Zehnder, 2019. "Secure Survey Design in Organizations: Theory and Experiments," NBER Working Papers 25918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Fehr, Ernst & Powell, Michael & Wilkening, Tom, 2021. "Behavioral Constraints on the Design of Subgame-Perfect Implementation Mechanisms," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 111(4), pages 1055-1091.
    6. Fahn, Matthias & MacLeod, W. Bentley & Muehlheusser, Gerd, 2023. "Past and Future Developments in the Economics of Relational Contracts," IZA Discussion Papers 16427, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Hanaki, Nobuyuki & Hayashi, Takashi & Lombardi, Michele & Ogawa, Kazuhito, 2021. "Partial equilibrium mechanism and inter-sectoral coordination: An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 190(C), pages 366-389.
    8. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2015. "Government versus private ownership of public goods: The role of bargaining frictions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 23-31.
    9. Bierbrauer, Felix & Netzer, Nick, 2016. "Mechanism design and intentions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 557-603.
    10. David Frydlinger & Oliver D. Hart, 2019. "Overcoming Contractual Incompleteness: The Role of Guiding Principles," NBER Working Papers 26245, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Mathias Erlei & Wiebke Roß, 2013. "Bounded Rationality as an Essential Component of the Holdup Problem," TUC Working Papers in Economics 0009, Abteilung für Volkswirtschaftslehre, Technische Universität Clausthal (Department of Economics, Technical University Clausthal).
    12. Tatsuyoshi Saijo & Yoshitaka Okano & Takafumi Yamakawa, 2015. "The approval mechanism solves the prisoner's dilemma theoretically and experimentally," Working Papers SDES-2015-12, Kochi University of Technology, School of Economics and Management, revised Feb 2015.
    13. Tatsuyoshi Saijo & Takehito Masuda & Takafumi Yamakawa, 2018. "Approval mechanism to solve prisoner’s dilemma: comparison with Varian’s compensation mechanism," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 51(1), pages 65-77, June.
    14. Federico Echenique & Mat'ias N'u~nez, 2022. "Price & Choose," Papers 2212.05650, arXiv.org, revised Apr 2023.

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    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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