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Delegation and Information Revelation

  • Axel Gautier
  • Dimitri Paolini

This paper addresses the question of delegation in a partial contracting set-up, where only the control over actions is contractible. We consider an organization that should take two decisions, affected by a common state of the world parameter only known by the agent. We show that, if the principal gives up the control over the first decision, to the better informed agent, the decision of the agent signals his private information to the principal. The revelation of information, associated with delegation, is valuable for the principal if she retains control over the second decision. Hence, this paper provides a new rational for partial delegation: a transfer of control to the better-informed party can be used by the supervisor to elicit the agent's private information. We establish this result by using the properties of signalling game. Finally, we show that, even if there are loss of control associated with delegation, the benefits of information revelation outweighs these costs and delegation could dominate centralization of all decisions by the principal, even in the case where she uses messages from the agent to acquire information; because those messages could be noisy.

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Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Bonn Econ Discussion Papers with number bgse18_2002.

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Length: 32
Date of creation: Jul 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bon:bonedp:bgse18_2002
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  1. Milton Harris & Artur Raviv, 1997. "Capital Budgeting and Delegation," CRSP working papers 452, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  2. Legros Patrick, 1993. "Information Revelation in Repeated Delegation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 98-117, January.
  3. Hart, Oliver D & Moore, John, 1988. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 755-85, July.
  4. Riley, John G, 1979. "Informational Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 331-59, March.
  5. Andreas Roider, 2006. "Delegation of Authority as an Optimal (In)Complete Contract," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 162(3), pages 391-411, September.
  6. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
  7. Leonardo Felli, 1996. "Preventing Collusion Through Discretion," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series /1996/303, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  8. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-51, November.
  9. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
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  11. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "The Dynamics of Incentive Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1153-75, September.
  12. Armstrong, M., 1994. "Delegation and discretion," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9421, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  13. Xavier Freixas & Roger Guesnerie & Jean Tirole, 1985. "Planning under Incomplete Information and the Ratchet Effect," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 173-191.
  14. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Martimort, David, 1995. "Collusion and Delegation," IDEI Working Papers 54, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  15. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221.
  16. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-29, May.
  17. Sappington, David, 1983. "Limited liability contracts between principal and agent," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-21, February.
  18. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
  19. Melumad, Nahum & Mookherjee, Dilip & Reichelstein, Stefan, 1992. "A theory of responsibility centers," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 445-484, December.
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  21. Myerson, Roger B., 1982. "Optimal coordination mechanisms in generalized principal-agent problems," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 67-81, June.
  22. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
  23. Martimort, David, 1997. " A Theory of Bureaucratization Based on Reciprocity and Collusive Behavior," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(4), pages 555-79, December.
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