The optimal sequencing of carrots
When aid organizations contract with local agents aid funds have the potential to be diverted to purposes other than the intended project. A multi-stage game is presented where the benefit from the project is cumulative, with the application of funds in each stage increasing both the agent's and the organization's benefit from the project. As the agent's utility of diversion increases, the allocation in each stage decreases and the project takes more stages to complete. When contracting with agents with high utilities of diversion the optimal contract involves bloated projects and a side payment to the agent upon completion. If the organization's commitment to the contract is not credible both the agent's and the organization's benefit is reduced.
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