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The Interplay Between Incentives and Communication Complexity in Mechanism Design

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  • Timothy Van Zandt

    (INSEAD)

Abstract

The curse of the Revelation Principle is that it leads us to focus on unrealistic mechanisms in which agents report all private information to the principal, who then makes all decisions centrally. This is not true when communication costs are introduced. Then partial communication of information, sequential back-and-forth conversations, and decentralization of decisions become part of optimal mechanisms. This paper looks at the interplay between the incentive constraints and the communication constraints. When can they be separated, so that e.g. one can separately study the incentive compatibility of a social choice rule and the minimum-cost communication protocol that realizes the social choice rule?

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  • Timothy Van Zandt, 2008. "The Interplay Between Incentives and Communication Complexity in Mechanism Design," 2008 Meeting Papers 480, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed008:480
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    File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2008/paper_480.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dilip Mookherjee, 2006. "Decentralization, Hierarchies, and Incentives: A Mechanism Design Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 44(2), pages 367-390, June.
    2. Michel Poitevin, 2000. "Can the theory of incentives explain decentralization?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(4), pages 878-906, November.
    3. Nisan, Noam & Segal, Ilya, 2006. "The communication requirements of efficient allocations and supporting prices," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 192-224, July.
    4. 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.
    5. Timothy Van Zandt, 2007. "Communication Complexity and Mechanism Design," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(2-3), pages 543-553, 04-05.
    6. POITEVIN, Michel, 2000. "Innis Lecture: Can the Theory of Incentives Explain Decentralization?," Cahiers de recherche 2000-13, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
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