IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Contracting with imperfect commitment and noisy communication

  • Bester, Helmut
  • Strausz, Roland

This paper provides new analytical tools for studying principal{agent problems with adverse selection and limited commitment. By allowing the principal to use general communication devices we overcome the literature's common, but overly restrictive focus on one{shot, direct communication. In addition, general communication devices solve two fundamental probems of contracting with imperfect commitment: First, they allow us to identify the `local downward' incentive constraints as the relevant ones if the agent's preferences satisfy a single{crossing property. Second, we show how one may restrict the cardinality of the message spaces of the communi- cation device. An example illustrates our arguments and the suboptimality of one-shot, direct communication.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

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

Volume (Year): 136 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 236-259

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:136:y:2007:i:1:p:236-259
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Myerson, Roger B., 1982. "Optimal coordination mechanisms in generalized principal-agent problems," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 67-81, June.
  2. Forges, Francoise, 1988. "Can sunspots replace a mediator?," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 347-368, September.
  3. Mitusch, Kay & Strausz, Roland, 2004. "Mediation in Situations of Conflict and Limited Commitment," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 24, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  4. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1985. "The Dynamics of Incentive Contracts," Working papers 397, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Jean-Jacques LAFFONT & Jean TIROLE, 1990. "Adverse Selection and Renegotiation in Procurement," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9005, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  6. Laffont, J.J. & Martimort, D., 1996. "Collusion Under Asymmetric Information," Papers 95.389, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  7. FORGES, Françoise, . "Universal mechanisms," CORE Discussion Papers RP 914, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Bester, Helmut & Strausz, Roland, 2000. "Imperfect commitment and the revelation principle: the multi-agent case," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 165-171, November.
  9. Forges, F., 1984. "An approach to communication equilibria," CORE Discussion Papers 1984035, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  10. Ben-Porath, Elchanan, 1998. "Correlation without Mediation: Expanding the Set of Equilibrium Outcomes by "Cheap" Pre-play Procedures," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 108-122, May.
  11. Oliver D. Hart & Jean Tirole, 1987. "Contract Renegotiation and Coasian Dynamics," Working papers 442, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  12. Bester, Helmut & Strausz, Roland, 2001. "Contracting with Imperfect Commitment and the Revelation Principle: The Single Agent Case," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 1077-98, July.
  13. Mathias Dewatripont, 1988. "Commitment through renegotiation-proof contacts with third parties," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9569, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  14. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, June.
  15. Dewatripont, Mathias, 1989. "Renegotiation and Information Revelation over Time: The Case of Optimal Labor Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(3), pages 589-619, August.
  16. 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.
  17. David P. Baron & Roger B. Myerson, 1979. "Regulating a Monopolist with Unknown Costs," Discussion Papers 412, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  18. Jean-Charles Rochet & Philippe Chone, 1998. "Ironing, Sweeping, and Multidimensional Screening," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 783-826, July.
  19. Cremer, Jacques, 1995. "Arm's Length Relationships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 275-95, May.
  20. FORGES, Françoise, . "Equilibria with communication in a job market example," CORE Discussion Papers RP 885, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  21. Robert J. Aumann & Sergiu Hart, 2003. "Long Cheap Talk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1619-1660, November.
    • Robert J. Aumann & Sergiu Hart, 2002. "Long Cheap Talk," Discussion Paper Series dp284, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, revised Nov 2002.
  22. Rey, Patrick & Salanie, Bernard, 1996. "On the Value of Commitment with Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1395-1414, November.
  23. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1987. "Comparative statics of the optimal dynamic incentive contract," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 901-926, June.
  24. V. Crawford & J. Sobel, 2010. "Strategic Information Transmission," Levine's Working Paper Archive 544, David K. Levine.
  25. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
  26. 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.
  27. Mathias Dewatripont & Eric Maskin, 1995. "Contractual contingencies and renegotiation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9609, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  28. Roger B. Myerson, 1977. "Incentive Compatability and the Bargaining Problem," Discussion Papers 284, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  29. Ben-Porath, Elchanan, 2003. "Cheap talk in games with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 45-71, January.
  30. Krishna, Vijay & Morgan, John, 2004. "The art of conversation: eliciting information from experts through multi-stage communication," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 147-179, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:136:y:2007:i:1:p:236-259. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.