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Reciprocity in the Principal Multiple Agent Model



This paper studies how incentives are affected by intention-based reciprocity preferences when the principal hires many agents. Our results describe the agents' psychological attitudes required to sustain a given strategy profile. We also show that hiring reciprocal agents to implement a first or a second-best contract will always benefit the principal if the strategy profile is symmetric. When instead the profile (first or second-best) is asymmetric the principal's best interest might be better served by self-interested agents. We conclude the paper by clarifying when symmetric profiles are most likely to arise.

Suggested Citation

  • Giuseppe De Marco & Giovanni Immordino, 2012. "Reciprocity in the Principal Multiple Agent Model," CSEF Working Papers 314, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:314

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pedro Rey-Biel, 2008. "Inequity Aversion and Team Incentives," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(2), pages 297-320, June.
    2. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    3. Florian Englmaier & Stephen Leider, 2012. "Contractual and Organizational Structure with Reciprocal Agents," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 146-183, May.
    4. Johannes Abeler & Steffen Altmann & Sebastian Kube & Matthias Wibral, 2010. "Gift Exchange and Workers' Fairness Concerns: When Equality is Unfair," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(6), pages 1299-1324, December.
    5. Giuseppe Attanasi & Pierpaolo Battigalli & Rosemarie Nagel, 2013. "Disclosure of Belief-Dependent Preferences in a Trust Game," Working Papers 506, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    6. Giuseppe Attanasi & Pierpaolo Battigalli & Elena Manzoni, 2016. "Incomplete-Information Models of Guilt Aversion in the Trust Game," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 62(3), pages 648-667, March.
    7. Al-Ubaydli, Omar & Lee, Min Sok, 2012. "Do you reward and punish in the way you think others expect you to?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 336-343.
    8. Sandra Maximiano & Randolph Sloof & Joep Sonnemans, 2007. "Gift Exchange in a Multi-Worker Firm," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(522), pages 1025-1050, July.
    9. Antonio Cabrales & Raffaele Miniaci & Marco Piovesan & Giovanni Ponti, 2010. "Social Preferences and Strategic Uncertainty: An Experiment on Markets and Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2261-2278, December.
    10. Jana Vyrastekova & Supriya Garikipati, 2005. "Beliefs and Trust: An Experiment," Research Papers 200511, University of Liverpool Management School.
    11. Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet, 2003. "Group vs. Individual Performance Pay When Workers Are Envious," CIRANO Working Papers 2003s-10, CIRANO.
    12. De Marco, Giuseppe & Immordino, Giovanni, 2013. "Partnership, reciprocity and team design," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 39-58.
    13. Netzer, Nick & Schmutzler, Armin, 2010. "Rotten Kids with Bad Intentions," CEPR Discussion Papers 7667, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bierbrauer, Felix & Netzer, Nick, 2016. "Mechanism design and intentions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 557-603.
    2. De Marco, Giuseppe & Immordino, Giovanni, 2013. "Partnership, reciprocity and team design," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 39-58.

    More about this item


    reciprocity; many agents; psychological games;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law

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