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Incentive Problems With Unidimensional Hidden Characteristics: A Unified Approach

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  • Martin F. Hellwig

Abstract

This paper develops a technique for studying incentive problems with unidimensional hidden characteristics in a way that is independent of whether the type set is finite, the type distribution has a continuous density, or the type distribution has both mass points and an atomless part. By this technique, the proposition that optimal incentive schemes induce no distortion "at the top" and downward distortions "below the top" is extended to arbitrary type distributions. However, mass points in the interior of the type set require pooling with adjacent higher types and, unless there are other complications, a discontinuous jump in the transition from adjacent lower types. Copyright 2010 The Econometric Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin F. Hellwig, 2010. "Incentive Problems With Unidimensional Hidden Characteristics: A Unified Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1201-1237, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:78:y:2010:i:4:p:1201-1237
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hellwig, Martin F., 2007. "A contribution to the theory of optimal utilitarian income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1449-1477, August.
    2. Mirrlees, J. A., 1976. "Optimal tax theory : A synthesis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 327-358, November.
    3. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
    4. Martin Hellwig, 2008. "A Maximum Principle for Control Problems with Monotonicity Constraints," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2008_04, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    5. Guesnerie, Roger & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1984. "A complete solution to a class of principal-agent problems with an application to the control of a self-managed firm," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 329-369, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jacquet, Laurence & Lehmann, Etienne & Van der Linden, Bruno, 2013. "Optimal redistributive taxation with both extensive and intensive responses," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(5), pages 1770-1805.
    2. repec:eee:jetheo:v:171:y:2017:i:c:p:64-100 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Laurence Jacquet & Etienne Lehmann, 2017. "Optimal income taxation with composition effects," TEPP Working Paper 2017-04, TEPP.
    4. Etienne Lehmann & Laurent Simula & Alain Trannoy, 2014. "Tax me if you can! Optimal Nonlinear Income Tax Between Competing Governments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(4), pages 1995-2030.
    5. Kos, Nenad & Messner, Matthias, 2013. "Extremal incentive compatible transfers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(1), pages 134-164.
    6. Brett, Craig & Weymark, John A., 2016. "Voting over selfishly optimal nonlinear income tax schedules with a minimum-utility constraint," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 18-31.
    7. Martin Hellwig, 2008. "A Maximum Principle for Control Problems with Monotonicity Constraints," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2008_04, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    8. Bougheas, Spiros & Worrall, Tim, 2012. "Cost padding in regulated monopolies," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 331-341.
    9. Schottmüller, Christoph, 2015. "Adverse selection without single crossing: Monotone solutions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 158(PA), pages 127-164.
    10. Hellwig, Martin F., 2010. "A generalization of the Atkinson-Stiglitz (1976) theorem on the undesirability of nonuniform excise taxation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 108(2), pages 156-158, August.
    11. Chade, Hector & Schlee, Edward, 2012. "Optimal insurance with adverse selection," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 7(3), September.
    12. Zheng, Mingli & Wang, Chong & Li, Chaozheng, 2015. "Optimal nonlinear pricing by a monopolist with information ambiguity," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 60-66.
    13. Brett, Craig & Weymark, John A., 2017. "Voting over selfishly optimal nonlinear income tax schedules," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 172-188.
    14. Meng, Dawen & Tian, Guoqiang, 2013. "Entry-Deterring Nonlinear Pricing with Bounded Rationality," MPRA Paper 57935, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised May 2014.
    15. Giraud, Raphaël & Thomas, Lionel, 2017. "Ambiguity, optimism, and pessimism in adverse selection models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 64-100.
    16. Pishchulov, Grigory & Richter, Knut, 2016. "Optimal contract design in the joint economic lot size problem with multi-dimensional asymmetric information," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 253(3), pages 711-733.
    17. Craig Brett & John A Weymark, 2014. "Citizen Candidates and Voting Over Incentive-Compatible Nonlinear Income Tax Schedules," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 14-00010, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis

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