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Deterministic versus stochastic mechanisms in principal-agent models

  • Strausz, Roland

This paper shows that, contrary to what is generally believed, decreasing concavity of the agent's utility function with respect to the screening variable is not sufficient to ensure that stochastic mechanisms are suboptimal. The paper demonstrates, however, that they are suboptimal whenever the optimal deterministic mechanism exhibits no bunching. This is the case for most applications of the theory and therefore validates the literature's usual focus on deterministic mechanisms.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 128 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 306-314

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:128:y:2006:i:1:p:306-314
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  1. Strausz, Roland, 2003. "Deterministic mechanisms and the revelation principle," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 333-337, June.
  2. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 614-41, June.
  3. Matthews, Steven & Moore, John, 1987. "Monopoly Provision of Quality and Warranties: An Exploration in the Theory of Multidimensional Screening," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 441-67, March.
  4. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1987. "Pareto efficient and optimal taxation and the new new welfare economics," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 15, pages 991-1042 Elsevier.
  5. Maskin, Eric S & Riley, John G, 1984. "Optimal Auctions with Risk Averse Buyers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1473-1518, November.
  6. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
  7. Richard Arnott & Joseph E Stiglitz, 2010. "Randomization with Asymmetric Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2054, David K. Levine.
  8. Green, Jerry & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1977. "Characterization of Satisfactory Mechanisms for the Revelation of Preferences for Public Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(2), pages 427-38, March.
  9. Roger B. Myerson, 1978. "Optimal Auction Design," Discussion Papers 362, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Myerson, Roger B, 1979. "Incentive Compatibility and the Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 61-73, January.
  11. Page, F H, Jr, 1991. "Optimal Contract Mechanisms for Principal-Agent Problems with Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 323-38, October.
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