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Optimal Choice of Characteristics for a non-excludable Good

  • Isabelle Brocas

I consider a model where a principal decides whether to produce one unit of an indivisible good (e.g. a private school) and which characteristics it will contain (emphasis on language or science). Agents (parents) are differentiated along two substitutable dimensions: a vertical parameter that captures their privately known valuation for the good (demand for private education), and an horizontal parameter that captures their observable differences in preferences for the characteristics. I analyze the optimal mechanism offered by the principal to allocate the good and show that the principal will produce a good with characteristics more on the lines of the preferences of the agent with the lowest valuation. Furthermore, if the principal has also a private valuation for the good, he will bias the choice of the characteristics against his own preferences.

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Paper provided by Institute of Economic Policy Research (IEPR) in its series IEPR Working Papers with number 06.52.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:scp:wpaper:06-52
Contact details of provider: Phone: (213) 740-3521
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Web page: http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/economics/IEPR/

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  1. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 614-41, June.
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  7. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1992. "The Principal-Agent Relationship with an Informed Principal, II: Common Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 1-42, January.
  8. Jullien, Bruno, 2000. "Participation Constraints in Adverse Selection Models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 1-47, July.
  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. d'Aspremont, Claude & Gerard-Varet, Louis-Andre, 1979. "Incentives and incomplete information," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 25-45, February.
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  12. Groves, Theodore, 1973. "Incentives in Teams," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 617-31, July.
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