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A Model of Delegated Project Choice


  • Mark Armstrong
  • John Vickers


We present a model in which a principal delegates the choice of project to an agent with different preferences. The principal determines the set of projects from which the agent may choose. The principal can verify the characteristics of the project chosen by the agent, but does not know which other projects were available to the agent. We consider situations where the collection of available projects is exogenous to the agent but uncertain, where the agent must invest effort to discover a project, where the principal can pay the agent to choose a desirable project, and where the principal can adopt more complex schemes than simple permission sets. Copyright 2010 The Econometric Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Armstrong & John Vickers, 2010. "A Model of Delegated Project Choice," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 213-244, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:78:y:2010:i:1:p:213-244

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Manuel Amador & Iván Werning & George-Marios Angeletos, 2006. "Commitment vs. Flexibility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 365-396, March.
    2. Ricardo Alonso & Niko Matouschek, 2007. "Relational delegation," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(4), pages 1070-1089, December.
    3. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
    4. Baker, George & Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1999. "Informal Authority in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 56-73, April.
    5. Martimort, David & Semenov, Aggey, 2006. "Continuity in mechanism design without transfers," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 182-189, November.
    6. Fridolfsson, Sven-Olof, 2007. "A Consumer Surplus Defense in Merger Control," Working Paper Series 686, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    7. Kovác, Eugen & Mylovanov, Tymofiy, 2009. "Stochastic mechanisms in settings without monetary transfers: The regular case," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(4), pages 1373-1395, July.
    8. Michael Kosfeld & Armin Falk, 2006. "The Hidden Costs of Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1611-1630, December.
    9. Joseph Farrell & Michael Katz, 2006. "The Economics of Welfare Standards in Antitrust," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 2.
    10. Nahum D. Melumad & Toshiyuki Shibano, 1991. "Communication in Settings with No. Transfers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(2), pages 173-198, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gottardi, Piero & Tallon, Jean Marc & Ghirardato, Paolo, 2017. "Flexible contracts," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 145-167.
    2. repec:eee:jetheo:v:171:y:2017:i:c:p:101-135 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Mark Armstrong & Steffen Huck, 2011. "Behavioral Economics as Applied to Firms: A Primer," Antitrust Chronicle, Competition Policy International, vol. 1.
    4. Tymofiy Mylovanov & Andriy Zapechelnyuk, 2010. "Decision Rules for Experts with Opposing Interests," Working Papers 674, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    5. Irene Valsecchi, 2013. "The expert problem: a survey," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 303-331, November.
    6. Lea Cassar, 2014. "Optimal contracting with endogenous project mission," ECON - Working Papers 150, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Oct 2014.
    7. Liang, Pinghan, 2013. "Optimal delegation via a strategic intermediary," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 15-30.
    8. Gangopadhyay, Partha, 2014. "Dynamics of mergers, bifurcation and chaos: A new framework," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 403(C), pages 293-307.
    9. Daniel Bird & Alexander Frug, 2016. "Dynamic nonmonetary incentives," Economics Working Papers 1545, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    10. Weese, Eric, 2008. "Political Mergers as Coalition Formation : Evidence from Japanese Municipal Amalgamations," CCES Discussion Paper Series 5, Center for Research on Contemporary Economic Systems, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.
    11. Markus Dertwinkel-Kalt & Christian Wey, 2016. "Merger Remedies in Oligopoly under a Consumer Welfare Standard," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(1), pages 150-179.
    12. Cosnita-Langlais, Andreea & Tropeano, Jean-Philippe, 2012. "Do remedies affect the efficiency defense? An optimal merger-control analysis," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 58-66.
    13. Ritz, Robert, 2016. "Oligopolistic competition and welfare," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1680, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    14. Davis, Peter, 2011. "On the role of empirical industrial organization in competition policy," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 323-328, May.
    15. Charles F. Manski, 2015. "Randomizing Regulatory Approval for Adaptive Diversification and Deterrence," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(S2), pages 367-385.
    16. Mauring, Eeva, 2016. "A two-agent model of sequential search and choice," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 122-137.
    17. repec:spr:jogath:v:46:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00182-016-0558-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Murali Agastya & Parimal Kanti Bag & Indranil Chakraborty, 2014. "Communication and authority with a partially informed expert," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(1), pages 176-197, March.
    19. Kräkel, Matthias, 2018. "Empowerment and the Dark Side of Delegation," IZA Discussion Papers 11289, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Nadav Levy, 2014. "Domain knowledge, ability, and the principal's authority relations," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(2), pages 370-394, June.
    21. Daniel Bird & Alexander Frug, 2016. "Dynamic Nonmonetary Incentives," Working Papers 938, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    22. Eric Weese, 2011. "Political Mergers as Coalition Formation," Working Papers 997, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    23. Yannis Katsoulacos & Eleni Metsiou & David Ulph, 2016. "Optimal Substantive Standards for Competition Authorities," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 273-295, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L4 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies


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