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Delegating Investment in a Common-Value Project

  • Suzanne Scotchmer.

I investigate the problem of delegating an investment effort when it is not known in advance which firm is most efficient, or whether the investment should be made at all. The motivating problem is that of commissioning R instead of relying on patent incentives. Firms have different private signals of a project's private (and social) value, and different costs of achieving it. I show that the two allocation problems of (i) making an efficient decision whether to invest, and (ii) delegating the investment to the least-cost firm can simultaneously be solved with no more profit dissipation than a procurement mechanism would require, assuming that the signals of value were known in advance.

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Paper provided by University of California at Berkeley in its series Economics Working Papers with number E99-266.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucb:calbwp:e99-266
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  1. Jean-Jaques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1985. "Auctioning Incentive Contracts," Working papers 403, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Francesca Cornelli & Mark Schankerman, 1999. "Patent Renewals and R&D Incentives," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(2), pages 197-213, Summer.
  3. Deborah Minehart & Suzanne Scotchmer, 1995. "Ex Post Regret and the Decentralized Sharing of Information," Papers 0058, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
  4. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
  5. Gandal, N. & Scotchmen, S., 1991. "Coordinating Research Through Research Joint Ventures," Papers 6-91, Tel Aviv.
  6. David Sappington, 1982. "Optimal Regulation of Research and Development under Imperfect Information," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 354-368, Autumn.
  7. 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.
  8. Kremer, Michael R., 1998. "Patent Buyouts: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation," Scholarly Articles 3693705, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Michael Kremer, 1998. "Patent Buyouts: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1137-1167.
  10. Cremer, Jacques & McLean, Richard P, 1985. "Optimal Selling Strategies under Uncertainty for a Discriminating Monopolist When Demands Are Interdependent," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 345-61, March.
  11. Michael Kremer, 1997. "Patent Buy-Outs: A Mechanism for Encouraging Innovation," NBER Working Papers 6304, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Cremer, Jacques & McLean, Richard P, 1988. "Full Extraction of the Surplus in Bayesian and Dominant Strategy Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1247-57, November.
  13. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John & Reny, Philip J, 1989. "Extracting the Surplus in the Common-Value Auction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(6), pages 1451-59, November.
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