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A Theory of Optimal Deadlines

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  • Flavio Toxvaerd

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Abstract

This paper sets forth a model of contracting for delivery in an environment with time to build and adverse selection. The optimal contract is derived and characterized and it takes the form of a deadline contract. Such a contract stipulates a deadline for delivery for each possible type of agent efficiency. The optimal contract induces inefficient delay by using delivery time as a screening device. Furthermore, rents are decreasing in the agent’s efficiency. In meeting the deadline, the agent’s effort is strictly increasing over time, due to discounting. It is shown that increasing the project’s gross value decreases delivery time, while the scale or difficulty of the project decreases it. Last, it is shown that the agent’s rents are increasing in both project difficulty and gross project value.

Suggested Citation

  • Flavio Toxvaerd, 2003. "A Theory of Optimal Deadlines," Discussion Paper Series dp357, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  • Handle: RePEc:huj:dispap:dp357
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    File URL: http://ratio.huji.ac.il/sites/default/files/publications/dp357.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Toxvaerd, Flavio, 2006. "Time of the essence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 252-272, July.
    2. Gene M. Grossman & Carl Shapiro, 1986. "Optimal Dynamic R&D Programs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(4), pages 581-593, Winter.
    3. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-328, March.
    4. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 614-641, June.
    5. Tsur, Yacov & Zemel, Amos, 2002. "The Regulation of Environmental Innovations," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 242-260, September.
    6. Alex Cukierman & Zalman F. Shiffer, 1976. "Contracting for Optimal Delivery Time in Long-Term Projects," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 7(1), pages 132-149, Spring.
    7. Robert E. Lucas, Jr., 1971. "Optimal Management of a Research and Development Project," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(11), pages 679-697, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Korok Ray, 2007. "Performance Evaluations and Efficient Sorting," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 839-882, September.
    2. Saez-Marti, Maria & Sjögren, Anna, 2008. "Deadlines and distractions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 153-176, November.
    3. Toxvaerd, Flavio, 2006. "Time of the essence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 252-272, July.
    4. Femminis Gianluca & Martini Gianmaria, 2010. "First-Mover Advantage in a Dynamic Duopoly with Spillover," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-46, November.
    5. Sean D'Evelyn, 2010. "Green Research Grants," Working Papers 2010-15, University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    deadlines; delivery time; time to build; adverse selection;

    JEL classification:

    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General

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