Delegation and Information Revelation
This paper addresses the question of delegation in a principal-agent setting with asymmetric information. If the person who has the power to act, the principal, doesn't have the necessary information to make the best possible decision, she can address herself to someone, the agent, who has this information. Such delegation of authority has its drawbacks given that the agent may not implement the principal's ideal decision. Delegation is costly for the principal. This cost is called the loss of control. But delegation has also its benefits. We show that delegation is useful to reduce the initial asymmetry of information between the principal and the agent. The benefits of delegation are linked to the information transmitted by the agent to the principal. To show this, we model an organization composed of one principal and one agent. The organization should take a sequence of decisions that are affected by a common environemental parameter. We assume that there is an initial asymmetry of information between the principal and the subordinate agent: the agent knows the state of the world while the principal has only some prior about its distribution. Moreover, we assume that the principal cannot use revelation techniques la Baron Myerson to elicit agent's superior information. In contrast, we adopt an incomplete contract framework and posit that the decision and the state of the world parameter cannot be contracted for. Therefore, the remaining contracting variable is the allocation of decision rights. With these simple contracts, we study how the agent's decision can signal his information to the principal. When the agent is in charge of a decision, his decision signals his information to the principal. The trade off between information transmitted through decisions under delegation and the associated loss of control is the heart of our analysis.
|Date of creation:||01 Aug 2000|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Phone: 1 212 998 3820|
Fax: 1 212 995 4487
Web page: http://www.econometricsociety.org/pastmeetings.asp
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- John G. Riley, 1976.
UCLA Economics Working Papers
071, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
- 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.
- Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994.
"Formal and Real Authority in Organizations,"
IDEI Working Papers
37, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Scholarly Articles 4554125, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 95-8, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Armstrong, Mark, 1995.
"Delegation and discretion,"
17069, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Armstrong, M., 1994. "Delegation and discretion," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9421, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
- Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1998.
"Capital budgeting and delegation,"
Journal of Financial Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 259-289, December.
- Milton Harris & Artur Raviv, . "Capital Budgeting and Delegation," CRSP working papers 343, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
- 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.
- Legros Patrick, 1993.
"Information Revelation in Repeated Delegation,"
Games and Economic Behavior,
Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 98-117, January.
- 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.
- Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1988.
"The Dynamics of Incentive Contracts,"
Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1153-75, September.
- Myerson, Roger B., 1982. "Optimal coordination mechanisms in generalized principal-agent problems," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 67-81, June.
- V. Crawford & J. Sobel, 2010.
"Strategic Information Transmission,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
544, David K. Levine.
- 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.
- Hardman Moore, John & Hart, Oliver, 1985.
"Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
60, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- 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.
- repec:cep:stitep:/1996/303 is not listed on IDEAS
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1292. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F. Baum)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.