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Production Externalities and Two-Way Distortion in Principal-Multi-Agent Problems

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  • Lockwood, B.

    (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)

Abstract

This paper studies an otherwise standard principal-agent problem with hidden information, but whether there are positive production externalities between agents: the output of any agent depends positively on the effort expended by the other agents. It is shown that the optimal contract for the principal exhibits two-way distortion: the effort of any agent is oversupplied (relative to the first-best) when his marginal cost effort is low, and undersupplied his marginal cost of effort is high. This pattern of distortion cannot otherwise arise in optimal single- or multi-agent incentive contracts, unless there are countervailing incentives. However, unlike the countervailing incentives case, the pattern of distortion is robust to the precise form of the externality.

Suggested Citation

  • Lockwood, B., 1999. "Production Externalities and Two-Way Distortion in Principal-Multi-Agent Problems," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 527, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:527
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    File URL: https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twoway1.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Itoh, Hideshi, 1991. "Incentives to Help in Multi-agent Situations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 611-636, May.
    2. Baron, David P & Myerson, Roger B, 1982. "Regulating a Monopolist with Unknown Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 911-930, July.
    3. Russell Cooper & Andrew John, 1988. "Coordinating Coordination Failures in Keynesian Models," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(3), pages 441-463.
    4. Mas-Colell, Andreu, 1984. "On a theorem of Schmeidler," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 201-206, December.
    5. Green, Jerry R & Stokey, Nancy L, 1983. "A Comparison of Tournaments and Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 349-364, June.
    6. Dilip Mookherjee, 1984. "Optimal Incentive Schemes with Many Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 433-446.
    7. Lewis, Tracy R. & Sappington, David E. M., 1989. "Countervailing incentives in agency problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 294-313, December.
    8. 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 345-361, March.
    9. Maggi G. & Rodriguez-Clare A., 1995. "On Countervailing Incentives," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 238-263, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yohan Pelosse, 2014. "Dynamic Difference-Form Contests," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 16(3), pages 401-426, June.
    2. Csorba, Gergely, 2008. "Screening contracts in the presence of positive network effects," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 213-226, January.
    3. Michela Cella & Federico Etro, 2010. "Oligopolistic Screening and Two-way Distortion," Working Papers 2010_28, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    4. Meng, Dawen & Tian, Guoqiang, 2013. "Entry-Deterring Nonlinear Pricing with Bounded Rationality," MPRA Paper 57935, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised May 2014.
    5. Isabelle Brocas, 2008. "Optimal choice of characteristics for a nonexcludable good," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 283-304.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    INFORMATION ; EXTERNALITIES;

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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