IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

On the Optimality of Privacy in Sequential Contracting

  • Giacomo Calzolari
  • Alessandro Pavan

This paper considers an environment where two principals sequentially contract with a common agent and studies the exchange of information between the two bilateral relationships. We show that when (a) the upstream principal is not personally interested in the decisions taken by the downstream principal, (b) the agent’s exogenous private information has a "vertical" structure in the sense that the sign of the single crossing condition is the same for upstream and downstream decisions, and (c) preferences in the downstream relationship are separable, then the upstream principal optimally commits to full privacy, whatever price the downstream principal is willing to pay to receive information. On the contrary, when any of the above conditions is violated, the upstream principal may find it strictly optimal to disclose a (noisy) signal of the agent’s exogenous type and/or the result of his upstream contractual activity, even if she can not make the downstream principal pay for the information she receives. We also show that disclosure does not necessarily reduce the equilibrium payoff of the agent and may lead to a Pareto improvement for the three players.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: main text
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1394.

in new window

Date of creation: Jul 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1394
Contact details of provider: Postal: Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science, Northwestern University, 580 Jacobs Center, 2001 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-2014
Phone: 847/491-3527
Fax: 847/491-2530
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. repec:bla:restud:v:57:y:1990:i:4:p:597-625 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. repec:adr:anecst:y:1992:i:28:p:01 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1985. "The Dynamics of Incentive Contracts," Working papers 397, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Valimaki, 1998. "Dynamic Common Agency," Discussion Papers 1259, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. David Martimort & Lars Stole, 2002. "The Revelation and Delegation Principles in Common Agency Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1659-1673, July.
  6. Helmut Bester & Roland Strausz, . "Imperfect Commitment and the Revelation Principle," Papers 004, Departmental Working Papers.
  7. Bester, Helmut & Strausz, Roland, 2001. "Contracting with Imperfect Commitment and the Revelation Principle: The Single Agent Case," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 1077-98, July.
  8. Baron, David P. & Besanko, David, 1984. "Regulation and information in a continuing relationship," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 267-302.
  9. Prat, A. & Rustichini, A., 1998. "Sequential Common Agency," Discussion Paper 1998-95, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  10. Epstein, Larry G. & Peters, Michael, 1999. "A Revelation Principle for Competing Mechanisms," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 119-160, September.
  11. Jean-Jacques LAFFONT & Jean TIROLE, 1990. "Adverse Selection and Renegotiation in Procurement," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9005, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  12. Padilla, Atilano Jorge & Pagano, Marco, 1996. "Endogenous Communication Among Lenders and Entrepreneurial Incentives," CEPR Discussion Papers 1295, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Zheng, Charles Zhoucheng, 2002. "Optimal Auction with Resale," Staff General Research Papers 12664, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  14. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1990. "The Principal-Agent Relationship with an Informed Principal: The Case of Private Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(2), pages 379-409, March.
  15. Taylor, Curtis R., 2003. "Privacy in Competitive Markets," Working Papers 03-10, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  16. Giacomo Calzolari & Alessandro Pavan, 2004. "Monopoly with Resale," Discussion Papers 1393, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  17. Pagano, Marco & Jappelli, Tullio, 1993. " Information Sharing in Credit Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 1693-1718, December.
  18. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
  19. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:102:y:1987:i:2:p:179-221 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:2:p:337-388 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Michael Peters, 1999. "Common Agency and the Revelation Principle," Working Papers peters-99-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  22. Ilya Segal & Michael D. Whinston, 2003. "Robust Predictions for Bilateral Contracting with Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(3), pages 757-791, 05.
  23. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 896, David K. Levine.
  24. David Martimort & Lars Stole, 2001. "Contractual Externalities and Common Agency Equilibria," CESifo Working Paper Series 581, CESifo Group Munich.
  25. Alessandro Acquisti & Hal R. Varian, 2005. "Conditioning Prices on Purchase History," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 24(3), pages 367-381, May.
  26. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2002. "Informational Externalities in Settlement Bargaining: Confidentiality and Correlated Culpability," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 587-604, Winter.
  27. Haile, Philip A., 2003. "Auctions with private uncertainty and resale opportunities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 72-110, January.
  28. Paul R. Milgrom, 1979. "Good Nevs and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Discussion Papers 407R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  29. Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Information Revelation and Certification Intermediaries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 214-231, Summer.
  30. Martimort, David, 1999. "Renegotiation Design with Multiple Regulators," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 261-293, October.
  31. Raith, Michael, 1996. "A General Model of Information Sharing in Oligopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 260-288, October.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1394. 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: (Fran Walker)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.