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Preventing Collusion through Discretion

Author

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  • Felli, Leonardo
  • Hortala-Vallve, Rafael

Abstract

Large public bureaucracies are commonly regarded as less efficient than modern private corporations. This paper explores how the degree of discretionary power might account for this difference in efficiency. Indeed, increasing the discretionary power of the intermediate layers of an organization - delegating power to them - enhances productivity by preventing collusion and capture between middle managers and line workers; provided that this detrimental form of collusion takes place in conditions of asymmetric information. To understand how this mechanism works requires an explicit model of the penalty for breach of a collusive agreement a party has to incur to walk away from such a side deal. Delegation is then a simple way for the principal to compensate the uninformed colluding party for walking out of collusion and for using/reporting the information leaked in the collusive negotiation. This threat clearly reduces the informed party incentive to participate in side deals and prevents collusion at a reduced cost.

Suggested Citation

  • Felli, Leonardo & Hortala-Vallve, Rafael, 2011. "Preventing Collusion through Discretion," CEPR Discussion Papers 8302, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8302
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lucia Quesada, 2005. "Collusion as an Informed Principal Problem," Game Theory and Information 0504002, EconWPA.
    2. Faure-Grimaud, Antoine & Martimort, David, 2001. "On some agency costs of intermediated contracting," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 75-82, April.
    3. Celik, Gorkem, 2009. "Mechanism design with collusive supervision," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 69-95, January.
    4. Rafael Hortala-Vallve & Miguel Sanchez Villalba, 2010. "Internalizing Team Production Externalities through Delegation: The British Passenger Rail Sector as an Example," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(308), pages 785-792, October.
    5. Jean-Jacques Laffont & David Martimort, 1997. "Collusion under Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 875-912, July.
    6. Faure-Grimaud, Antoine & Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Martimort, David, 1999. "The endogenous transaction costs of delegated auditing," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 1039-1048, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Axel Gautier & Dimitri Paolini, 2007. "Delegation and Information Revelation," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 163(4), pages 574-597, December.
    2. Barlo, Mehmet & Ayca, Ozdogan, 2012. "Team beats collusion," MPRA Paper 37449, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Walter Novaes & Luigi Zingales, 2004. "Bureaucracy as a Mechanism to Generate Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(2), pages 245-259, Summer.
    4. Mehmet Barlo & Ayça Özdoğan, 2013. "The Optimality of Team Contracts," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(4), pages 1-20, November.
    5. Howitt, Peter & Aghion, Philippe, 1997. "Ajustement macroéconomique aux technologies multi-usages," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 73(4), pages 575-593, décembre.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Collusion; Communication; Delegation; Hierarchies;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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