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A Theory of Authority in Bilateral Contracting

Two players are involved in a joint project during which a decision must be reached. Each player has private information about future profits. Authority gives one player the right to decide first in a pre-defined set of alternatives. In this framework, I show that (partial) authority should be assigned to the player who gets the highest share of the total surplus. This organizational architecture replicates the performance of an optimal revelation mechanism without the cost of hiring a third party acting as a principal.

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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 102.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2003
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Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:102
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  1. Michel Poitevin, 2000. "Can the theory of incentives explain decentralization?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(4), pages 878-906, November.
  2. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Macho-Stadler, Ines & Perez-Castrillo, J David, 1998. "Centralized and Decentralized Contracts in a Moral Hazard Environment," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 489-510, December.
  5. Cremer, Jacques, 1995. "Arm's Length Relationships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 275-95, May.
  6. Wouter Dessein, 2000. "Authority and Communication in Organizations," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1747, Econometric Society.
  7. Bester, Helmut, 2004. "Externalities and the Allocation of Decision Rights in the Theory of the Firm," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 23, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  8. 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.
  9. Nahum Melumad & Dilip Mookherjee & Stefan Reichelstein, 1997. "Contract Complexity, Incentives, and the Value of Delegation," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(1), pages 257-289, 06.
  10. Mookherjee, Dilip & Reichelstein, Stefan, 1992. "Dominant strategy implementation of Bayesian incentive compatible allocation rules," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 378-399, April.
  11. Krähmer, Daniel, 2002. "Delegation versus authority
    [Delegation versus Autorität]
    ," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance FS IV 02-26, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  12. d'Aspremont, Claude & Gerard-Varet, Louis-Andre, 1979. "Incentives and incomplete information," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 25-45, February.
  13. Laffont, J.J. & Martimort, D., 1996. "Collusion Under Asymmetric Information," Papers 95.389, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  14. Myerson, Roger B., 1982. "Optimal coordination mechanisms in generalized principal-agent problems," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 67-81, June.
  15. Lerner, Josh & Merges, Robert P, 1998. "The Control of Technology Alliances: An Empirical Analysis of the Biotechnology Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 125-56, June.
  16. Sappington, David, 1983. "Limited liability contracts between principal and agent," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-21, February.
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