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Endogenizing Private Information: Incentive Contracts under Learning By Doing


  • Dennis Gaertner

    () (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich)


This paper investigates the design of incentives in a dynamic adverse selection framework when agents� production technologies display learning effects and agents� rate of learning is private knowledge. In a simple two-period model with full commitment available to the principal, we show that whether learning effects are over- or under-exploited crucially depends on whether learning effects increase or decrease the principal�s uncertainty about agents� costs of production. Hence, what drives the over- or under-exploitation of learning effects is whether more efficient agents also learn faster (so costs diverge through learning effects) or whether it is the less efficient agents who learn faster (so costs converge). Furthermore, we show that if divergence in costs through learning effects is strong enough, learning effects will not be exploited at all, in a sense to be made precise.

Suggested Citation

  • Dennis Gaertner, 2004. "Endogenizing Private Information: Incentive Contracts under Learning By Doing," SOI - Working Papers 0413, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:soz:wpaper:0413

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Stéphane Auray & Thomas Mariotti & Fabien Moizeau, 2006. "Dynamic Regulation of Public Good Quality," Cahiers de recherche 0610, CIRPEE.
    2. Stéphane Auray & Thomas Mariotti & Fabien Moizeau, 2011. "Dynamic regulation of quality," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(2), pages 246-265, June.

    More about this item


    asymmetric information; learning by doing; regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L43 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Legal Monopolies and Regulation or Deregulation
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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