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Sorting the Good Guys from Bad: On the Optimality of Deterministic Audit with Ex-Ante Information Acquisition

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Abstract

In a costly state verification model under commitment the principal may acquire a costly public and imperfectly revealing signal before or after contracting. If the project remains profitable after all signal realisations, optimally the signal is collected, if at all, after contracting, and it may be acquired randomly or deterministically. Moreover, audit is deterministic and targeted on some signal-state combinations. The paper provides a detailed characterisation of the optimal contract and performs a comparative static analysis of signal acquisition strategy and payoffs with respect to enforcement costs and informativeness of the signal. We explore robustness of the results, including commitment issues.

Suggested Citation

  • Annamaria Menichini & Peter Simmons, 2008. "Sorting the Good Guys from Bad: On the Optimality of Deterministic Audit with Ex-Ante Information Acquisition," CSEF Working Papers 201, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 27 Oct 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:201
    Note: A previous version has been circulated under the title “The Strategic and Social Power of Signal Acquisition".
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Macho-Stadler, Ines & Perez-Castrillo, J David, 2002. "Auditing with Signals," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(273), pages 1-20, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bilancini, Ennio & Boncinelli, Leonardo, 2018. "Signaling with costly acquisition of signals," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 141-150.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    contracts; auditing; ex-ante information;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law

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