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A Principal-Agent Model of Sequential Testing

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  • Dino Gerardi
  • Lucas Maestri

Abstract

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.
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Suggested Citation

  • Dino Gerardi & Lucas Maestri, 2009. "A Principal-Agent Model of Sequential Testing," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000076, David K. Levine.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:814577000000000076
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cremer, Jacques & Khalil, Fahad & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1998. "Contracts and Productive Information Gathering," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 174-193, November.
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    12. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Nicolas Klein & Tymofiy Mylovanov, 2011. "Should the Flatterers be Avoided?," 2011 Meeting Papers 1273, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Johannes Hörner & Larry Samuelson, 2013. "Incentives for experimenting agents," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 44(4), pages 632-663, December.
    3. Gomes, Renato & Gottlieb, Daniel & Maestri, Lucas, 2016. "Experimentation and project selection: Screening and learning," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 145-169.
    4. Chia-Hui Chen & Junichiro Ishida, 2015. "A Tenure-Clock Problem," ISER Discussion Paper 0919, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    5. Chia-Hui Chen & Junichiro Ishida, 2017. "Dynamic Performance Evaluation with Deadlines: The Role of Commitment," ISER Discussion Paper 1015, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    6. repec:aea:aejmic:v:9:y:2017:i:3:p:148-86 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Catherine Bobtcheff & Raphaël Levy, 2017. "More Haste, Less Speed? Signaling through Investment Timing," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 148-186, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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