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The Interplay Between Incentives and Communication Complexity in Mechanism Design

  • Timothy Van Zandt


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    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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    Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2008 Meeting Papers with number 480.

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    Date of creation: 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:red:sed008:480
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
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    1. Jean-Jacques Laffont & David Martimort, 1998. "Collusion and Delegation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(2), pages 280-305, Summer.
    2. Michel Poitevin, 2000. "Can the Theory of Incentives Explain Decentralization?," CIRANO Working Papers 2000s-32, CIRANO.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
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