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A Principal-Agent Model of Sequential Testing

  • Dino Gerardi
  • Lucas Maestri

This paper analyzes the optimal provision of incentives in a dynamic information acquisition process. In every period, the agent can acquire costly information that is relevant to the principal's decision. Each signal may or may not provide definitive evidence in favor of the good state. Neither the agent's effort nor the realizations of his signals are observable. First, we assume that the agent has no private information at the time of contracting. Under the optimal mechanism, the agent is rewarded only when his messages are consistent with the state. The payments that the agent receives when he correctly announces the good state increase over time. We then characterize the optimal mechanisms when the agent has superior information about the state at the outset of the relationship. The principal prefers to offer different contracts if and only if the agent types are sufficiently diverse. Finally, all agent types benefit from their initial private information.

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

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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 814577000000000076.

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Date of creation: 15 Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:814577000000000076
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.dklevine.com/

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  1. Spear, Stephen E & Srivastava, Sanjay, 1987. "On Repeated Moral Hazard with Discounting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 599-617, October.
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  4. PETER M. DeMARZO & YULIY SANNIKOV, 2006. "Optimal Security Design and Dynamic Capital Structure in a Continuous-Time Agency Model," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(6), pages 2681-2724, December.
  5. Jean Tirole & Jean-Jaques Laffont, 1985. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Working papers 368, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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  7. Bergemann, Dirk & Hege, Ulrich, 1997. "Venture Capital Financing, Moral Hazard and Learning," CEPR Discussion Papers 1738, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Gromb, Denis & Martimort, David, 2007. "Collusion and the organization of delegated expertise," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 271-299, November.
  9. Cremer, J. & Khalil, F. & Rochet, J-C., 1997. "Contracts and Productive Information Gathering," Papers 97.468, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  10. Bengt Holmstrom & Paul R. Milgrom, 1985. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 742, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  11. Gromb, Denis & Martimort, David, 2004. "The Organization of Delegated Expertise," CEPR Discussion Papers 4572, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
  13. Atkeson, Andrew, 1991. "International Lending with Moral Hazard and Risk of Repudiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 1069-89, July.
  14. Giuseppe Moscarini & Lones Smith, 2001. "The Optimal Level of Experimentation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1629-1644, November.
  15. Lewis, Tracy R & Sappington, David E M, 1997. "Information Management in Incentive Problems," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 796-821, August.
  16. Peter M. DeMarzo & Michael J. Fishman, 2007. "Optimal Long-Term Financial Contracting," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 20(6), pages 2079-2128, November.
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