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The ratchet principle in a principal agent game with unknown costs: an experimental analysis

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  • Chaudhuri, Ananish

Abstract

In this paper we consider an experimental two-period game characterized by incomplete information.The agent produces an output for the principal and can have either high or low costs of production. The principal ex ante knows only that each is equally likely. The principal's aim is to extract the maximum possible surplus from the agent. The principal sets an output quota at the beginning of each period and does not commit to a long-term scheme and uses any information that becomes available about the agent's true type in setting next period's quota in order to extract the informational rent. We find that the agents play the game in a naive way - very often revealing their true types through their choices even though such type revelation is not optimal. However frequently the principal does not exploit this information in extracting more of the informational rent from the agent.
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  • Chaudhuri, Ananish, 1998. "The ratchet principle in a principal agent game with unknown costs: an experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 291-304, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:37:y:1998:i:3:p:291-304
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    3. José Luis Lima R. & Javier Nuñez E., 2004. "Experimental Analysis of the Reputational Incentives in a Self Regulated Organization," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 194, Econometric Society.
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    5. Gary Charness & Peter Kuhn & Marie Claire Villeval, 2011. "Competition and the Ratchet Effect," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 513-547.
    6. Jacquemet, Nicolas & Koessler, Frédéric, 2013. "Using or hiding private information? An experimental study of zero-sum repeated games with incomplete information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 103-120.
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    10. Ernst Fehr & Klaus Schmidt, 2004. "Contracts, Fairness and Incentives," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000148, UCLA Department of Economics.
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    15. Ernst Fehr & Alexander Klein & Klaus M Schmidt, 2007. "Fairness and Contract Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 121-154, January.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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