IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Adverse selection problems without the Spence-Mirrlees condition


  • Araujo, Aloisio
  • Moreira, Humberto


This paper studies a class of one-dimensional screening problems where the agent's utility function does not satisfy the Spence-Mirrlees condition (SMC). The strength of the SMC for hidden information problems is to provide a full characterization of implementable contracts using only the local incentive compatibility (IC) constraints. These constraints are equivalent to the monotonicity of the decision variable with respect to the agent's unobservable one-dimensional parameter. When the SMC is violated the local IC constraints are no longer sufficient for implementability and additional (global) IC constraints have to be taken into account. In particular, implementable decisions may not be monotonic and discretely pooled types must have the same marginal utility of the decision (or equivalently, get the same marginal tariff). Moreover, at the optimal decision, the principal must preserve the same trade-off between rent extraction and allocative distortion measured in the agent's marginal rent unit. In a specific setting where non-monotone contracts may be optimal we fully characterize the solution.

Suggested Citation

  • Araujo, Aloisio & Moreira, Humberto, 2010. "Adverse selection problems without the Spence-Mirrlees condition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 1113-1141, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:145:y:2010:i:3:p:1113-1141

    Download full text from publisher

    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 below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "The First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1357-1367, November.
    2. Guesnerie,Roger, 1998. "A Contribution to the Pure Theory of Taxation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521629560, March.
    3. Noldeke, Georg & Samuelson, Larry, 2007. "Optimal bunching without optimal control," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 405-420, May.
    4. Araujo, Aloisio & Moreira, Humberto, 2001. "A general Lagrangian approach for non-concave moral hazard problems," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 17-39, February.
    5. Spence, Michael, 1974. "Competitive and optimal responses to signals: An analysis of efficiency and distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 296-332, March.
    6. Edlin, Aaron S. & Shannon, Chris, 1998. "Strict Monotonicity in Comparative Statics," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 201-219, July.
    7. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
    8. Jullien, Bruno, 2000. "Participation Constraints in Adverse Selection Models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 1-47, July.
    9. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1994. "A Theory of Conformity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 841-877, October.
    10. Milgrom, Paul & Shannon, Chris, 1994. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 157-180, January.
    11. Paul Milgrom & Ilya Segal, 2002. "Envelope Theorems for Arbitrary Choice Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 583-601, March.
    12. Jean-Charles Rochet & Philippe Chone, 1998. "Ironing, Sweeping, and Multidimensional Screening," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 783-826, July.
    13. Lewis, Tracy R. & Sappington, David E. M., 1989. "Countervailing incentives in agency problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 294-313, December.
    14. Araujo, Aloisio & Moreira, Humberto & Tsuchida, Marcos, 2007. "The Trade-Off Between Incentives and Endogenous Risk," Brazilian Review of Econometrics, Sociedade Brasileira de Econometria - SBE, vol. 27(2), November.
    15. 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.
    16. Maggi G. & Rodriguez-Clare A., 1995. "On Countervailing Incentives," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 238-263, June.
    17. Athey, Susan, 2001. "Single Crossing Properties and the Existence of Pure Strategy Equilibria in Games of Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 861-889, July.
    18. Bagwell, Laurie Simon & Bernheim, B Douglas, 1996. "Veblen Effects in a Theory of Conspicuous Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 349-373, June.
    19. Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1987. "A necessary and sufficient condition for rationalizability in a quasi-linear context," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 191-200, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:145:y:2010:i:3:p:1113-1141. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.