Screening Ethics when Honest Agents Keep their Word
We study the implications of honesty when it requires pre-commitment. Within a two-period hidden information problem, an agent learns his match with the assigned task in period 2 and, if honest, reveals it to the principal if he has committed to it. The principal may offer a menu of contracts to screen ethics. Both honest and dishonest agents are willing to misrepresent their ethics. The principal and dishonest agents benefit from an increased likelihood of honesty as long as honesty is likely enough. Honest agents always profit from ethics uncertainty if a good match is likely. This is also true if dishonesty is likely enough, in which case an honest receives the same surplus as a dishonest.
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|Date of revision:||09 Nov 2004|
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