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Optimal Delegation with a Finite Number of States

  • Vincent Anesi

    (University of Nottingham)

  • Daniel J. Seidmann

    (University of Nottingham)

This paper contributes to the literature on optimal delegation, dating back to Holmstrom's (1984) seminal work. In contrast to models in the Holmstrom tradition, we assume that the set of states is finite. We provide a full characterization of the class of optimal delegation sets under this assumption, and show that they have a different structure from that in the continuous-state model. As the number of states tends to infinity, however, every optimal delegation set converges to that of Holmstrom (1984). We also show that, for intermediate bias, the Ally Principal fails for small changes in bias, the Uncertainty Principle may fail, and the principal prefers to appoint an amateur agent.

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File URL: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cedex/documents/papers/2009-20.pdf
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Paper provided by The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 2009-20.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:not:notcdx:2009-20
Contact details of provider: Postal: School of Economics University of Nottingham University Park Nottingham NG7 2RD
Phone: (44) 0115 951 5620
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Web page: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/economics/cedex/

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  1. Vickers, John, 1985. "Delegation and the Theory of the Firm," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(380a), pages 138-47, Supplemen.
  2. Kovác, Eugen & Mylovanov, Tymofiy, 2009. "Stochastic mechanisms in settings without monetary transfers: The regular case," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(4), pages 1373-1395, July.
  3. Vincent Anesi & Daniel J. Seidmann, 2009. "Optimal Delegation with a Finite Number of States," Discussion Papers 2009-20, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  4. Manuel Amador & Ivan Werning & George-Marios Angeletos, 2003. "Commitment Vs. Flexibility," NBER Working Papers 10151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Koessler, Frédéric & Martimort, David, 2012. "Optimal delegation with multi-dimensional decisions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(5), pages 1850-1881.
  6. Ivanov, Maxim, 2010. "Informational control and organizational design," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(2), pages 721-751, March.
  7. Goltsman, Maria & Hörner, Johannes & Pavlov, Gregory & Squintani, Francesco, 2009. "Mediation, arbitration and negotiation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(4), pages 1397-1420, July.
  8. Vijay Krishna & John Morgan, 2008. "Contracting for information under imperfect commitment," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 905-925.
  9. Egorov, Georgy & Sonin, Konstantin, 2004. "Dictators and Their Viziers: Agency Problems in Dictatorships," CEPR Discussion Papers 4777, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Callander, Steven, 2008. "A Theory of Policy Expertise," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 3(2), pages 123-140, July.
  11. Martimort, David & Semenov, Aggey, 2006. "Continuity in mechanism design without transfers," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 182-189, November.
  12. Craig Volden, 2002. "Delegating Power to Bureaucracies: Evidence from the States," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 187-220, April.
  13. Sanford C. Gordon, 2007. "Directing Retribution: On the Political Control of Lower Court Judges," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 386-420, June.
  14. Nahum D. Melumad & Toshiyuki Shibano, 1991. "Communication in Settings with No. Transfers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(2), pages 173-198, Summer.
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