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Incentives for Experimenting Agents

We examine a repeated interaction between an agent, who undertakes experiments, and a principal who provides the requisite funding for these experiments. The agent's actions are hidden, and the principal, who makes the offers, cannot commit to future actions. We identify the unique Markovian equilibrium (whose structure depends on the parameters) and characterize the set of all equilibrium payoffs, uncovering a collection of non-Markovian equilibria that can Pareto dominate and reverse the qualitative properties of the Markovian equilibrium. The prospect of lucrative continuation payoffs makes it more expensive for the principal to incentivize the agent, giving rise to a dynamic agency cost. As a result, constrained efficient equilibrium outcomes call for nonstationary outcomes that front-load the agent's effort and that either attenuate or terminate the relationship inefficiently early.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d17a/d1726.pdf
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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1726.

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Length: 65 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1726
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Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/

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Order Information: Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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  1. Dirk Bergemann & Ulrich Hege, 2001. "The Financing of Innovation: Learning and Stopping," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1292, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Doepke, Matthias & Townsend, Robert M., 2006. "Dynamic mechanism design with hidden income and hidden actions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 235-285, January.
  3. Francesca Cornelli & Oved Yosha, 2003. "Stage Financing and the Role of Convertible Securities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 1-32.
  4. Bergemann, Dirk & Hege, Ulrich, 1997. "Venture Capital Financing, Moral Hazard and Learning," CEPR Discussion Papers 1738, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Dirk Bergemann & Ulrich Hege & Liang Peng, 2008. "Venture Capital and Sequential Investments," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1682RR, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Oct 2009.
  6. Dino Gerardi & Lucas Maestri, 2008. "A Principal-Agent Model of Sequential Testing," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1680, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Mason, Robin & Välimäki, Juuso, 2008. "Dynamic Moral Hazard and Project Completion," CEPR Discussion Papers 6857, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Francesca Cornelli & Oved Yosha, 2003. "Stage Financing and the Role of Convertible Securities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 1-32, January.
  9. Peeters, Carine & Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno van, 2003. "Measuring Innovation Competencies and Performances: A Survey of Large Firms in Belgium," IIR Working Paper 03-16, Institute of Innovation Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  10. Asher Blass & Oved Yosha, 2003. "Financing R&D in mature companies: An empirical analysis," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(5), pages 425-447.
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