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On the Optimality of Privacy in Sequential Contracting

  • Giacomo Calzolari
  • Alessandro Pavan

This paper studies the exchange of information between two principals who contract sequentially with the same agent, as in the case of a buyer who purchases from multiple sellers. We show that when (a) the upstream principal is not personally interested in the downstream level of trade, (b) the agent’s valuations are positively correlated, and (c) preferences in the downstream relationship are separable, then it is optimal for the upstream principal to offer the agent full privacy. On the contrary, when any of these conditions is violated, there exist preferences for which disclosure is strictly optimal, even if the downstream principal does not pay for the information. We also examine the effects of disclosure on welfare and show that it does not necessarily reduce the agent’s surplus in the two relationships and in some cases may even yield a Pareto improvement. The paper describes this condition and its implications.

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File URL: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/papers/1404.pdf
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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1404.

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Date of creation: Mar 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1404
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  1. Prat, A. & Rustichini, A., 1998. "Sequential Common Agency," Discussion Paper 1998-95, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. David Martimort & Lars Stole, 2001. "The Revelation and Delegation Principles in Common Agency Games," CESifo Working Paper Series 575, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. 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.
  4. Padilla, A.J. & Pagano, M., 1994. "Endogenous Communication Among Lenders and Entrepreneurial Incentives," Papers 9407, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
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  9. Ilya Segal & Michael D. Whinston, 2003. "Robust Predictions for Bilateral Contracting with Externalities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(3), pages 757-791, 05.
  10. Alessandro Acquisti & Hal R. Varian, 2002. "Contidioning Prices on Purchase History," Microeconomics 0210001, EconWPA.
  11. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1991. "Information Sharing in Credit Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 579, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "The Dynamics of Incentive Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1153-75, September.
  13. Ilya Segal, 1999. "Contracting With Externalities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 337-388, May.
  14. Baron, David P. & Besanko, David, 1984. "Regulation and information in a continuing relationship," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 267-302.
  15. Epstein, Larry G. & Peters, Michael, 1999. "A Revelation Principle for Competing Mechanisms," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 119-160, September.
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  17. Raith, Michael, 1996. "A General Model of Information Sharing in Oligopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 260-288, October.
  18. 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.
  19. Charles Zhoucheng Zheng, 2002. "Optimal Auction with Resale," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2197-2224, November.
  20. 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.
  21. Taylor, Curtis R., 2003. "Privacy in Competitive Markets," Working Papers 03-10, Duke University, Department of Economics.
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  23. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
  24. repec:dgr:kubcen:199895 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Martimort, David, 1999. "Renegotiation Design with Multiple Regulators," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 261-293, October.
  26. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 896, David K. Levine.
  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. Alessandro Lizzeri, 1999. "Information Revelation and Certification Intermediaries," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 214-231, Summer.
  29. Helmut Bester & Roland Strausz, . "Imperfect Commitment and the Revelation Principle," Papers 004, Departmental Working Papers.
  30. 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.
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