IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Mechanism design and intentions

  • Felix Bierbrauer
  • Nick Netzer

We introduce intention-based social preferences into a mechanism design framework with independent private values and quasilinear payoffs. For the case where the designer has no information about the intensity of social preferences, we provide conditions under which mechanisms which have been designed under the assumption that agents are selfish can still be implemented. For the case where precise information about social preferences is available, we show that any tension between efficiency, incentive-compatibility, and voluntary participation may disappear. Impossibility results such as the one by Myerson and Satterthwaite (1983) are then turned into possibility results. We also provide a systematic account of the welfare implications of kindness sensations.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 066.

in new window

Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision: Apr 2014
Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:066
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Schönberggasse 1, CH-8001 Zürich

Phone: +41-1-634 21 37
Fax: +41-1-634 49 82
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Stanca, Luca, 2010. "How to be kind? Outcomes versus intentions as determinants of fairness," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 19-21, January.
  2. Caplin, Andrew & Eliaz, Kfir, 2003. " AIDS Policy and Psychology: A Mechanism-Design Approach," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(4), pages 631-46, Winter.
  3. Gueth,Werner & Hellwig,Martin, 1986. "The private supply of a public good," Discussion Paper Serie A 40, University of Bonn, Germany.
  4. Samuel Bowles & Sung-Ha Hwang, 2008. "Social Preferences and Public Economics: Mechanism Design when Social Preferences Depend on Incentives," Department of Economics University of Siena 530, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  5. ehiel, Philippe & Benny Moldovanu & Ennio Stacchetti, 1994. "How (not) to sell nuclear weapons," Discussion Paper Serie B 288, University of Bonn, Germany.
  6. Ingela Alger & Régis Renault, 2006. "Screening Ethics When Honest Agents Care About Fairness ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(1), pages 59-85, 02.
  7. Segal, Uzi & Sobel, Joel, 1999. "Tit for Tat: Foundations of Preferences for Reciprocity in Strategic Settings," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt9xf8836g, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  8. James Cox & Daniel Friedman & Steven Gjerstad, 2004. "A Tractable Model of Reciprocity and Fairness," Experimental 0406001, EconWPA.
  9. Desiraju, Ramarao & Sappington, David E.M., 2007. "Equity and adverse selection with correlated costs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 402-407, June.
  10. Englmaier, Florian & Muehlheusser, Gerd & Roider, Andreas, 2010. "Optimal Incentive Contracts under Moral Hazard When the Agent is Free to Leave," CEPR Discussion Papers 7914, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., . "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. Andreoni, James & Brown, Paul M. & Vesterlund, Lise, 2002. "What Makes an Allocation Fair? Some Experimental Evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 1-24, July.
  13. Zephyr, 2010. "The city," City, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1-2), pages 154-155, February.
  14. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2004. "The supply of information by a concerned expert," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 487-505, 07.
  15. Dirk Bergemann & Stephen Morris, 2003. "Robust Mechanism Design," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1421, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  16. Martin Dufwenberg & Paul Heidhues & Georg Kirchsteiger & Frank Riedel & Joel Sobel, 2011. "Other-Regarding Preferences in General Equilibrium," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/149598, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  17. Ernst Fehr & Michael Powell & Tom Wilkening, 2014. "Handing out guns at a knife fight: behavioral limitations of subgame-perfect implementation," ECON - Working Papers 171, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  18. Renou, Ludovic & Schlag, Karl H., 2011. "Implementation in minimax regret equilibrium," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 527-533, March.
  19. Jehiel, Philippe & Moldovanu, Benny, 2006. "Allocative and Informational Externalities in Auctions and Related Mechanisms," CEPR Discussion Papers 5558, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Geanakoplos, John & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1989. "Psychological games and sequential rationality," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 60-79, March.
  21. Cabrales, Antonio & Calvó-Armengol, Antoni, 2007. "Interdependent preferences and segregating equilibria," UC3M Working papers. Economics we072313, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  22. Hitoshi Matsushima, 2005. "On Detail-Free Mechanism Design And Rationality," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 56(1), pages 41-54.
  23. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
  24. Martin Dufwenberg & Simon Gaechter & Heike Hennig-Schmidt, 2010. "The Framing of Games and the Psychology of Play," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse15_2010, University of Bonn, Germany.
  25. Antonio Cabrales & Roberto Serrano, 2007. "Implementation in adaptive better-response dynamics," Working Papers 2007-16, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
  26. Andreas Pape & Subir Bose & Emre Ozdenoren, 2004. "Optimal auctions with ambiguity," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 609, Econometric Society.
  27. De Marco Giuseppe & Immordino Giovanni, 2014. "Reciprocity in the Principal–Multiple Agent Model," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 38, January.
  28. Antonio Cabrales & Antoni Calvo-Armengol & Nicola Pavoni, 2005. "Social Preferences, Skill Segregation, and Wage Dynamics," 2005 Meeting Papers 205, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  29. Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, 2002. "Psychological Foundations of Incentives," CESifo Working Paper Series 714, CESifo Group Munich.
  30. Li, Jing, 2008. "The power of conventions: A theory of social preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 489-505, March.
  31. Bruno S. Frey & Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, . "Introducing Procedural Utility: Not only What, but also How Matters," IEW - Working Papers 129, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  32. Serkan Kucuksenel, 2012. "Behavioral Mechanism Design," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 14(5), pages 767-789, October.
  33. Eric Maskin, 1999. "Nash Equilibrium and Welfare Optimality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 23-38.
  34. Martin Dufwenberg & Alec Smith & Matt Van Essen, 2013. "Hold-Up: With A Vengeance," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 896-908, 01.
  35. Armin Falk & Urs Fischbacher, . "A Theory of Reciprocity," IEW - Working Papers 006, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  36. Dilip Mookherjee & Stefan Reichelstein, 1990. "Implementation via Augmented Revelation Mechanisms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 453-475.
  37. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
  38. Björn Bartling & Nick Netzer, 2014. "An Externality-Robust Auction: Theory and Experimental Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 4771, CESifo Group Munich.
  39. Rodriguez-Sickert, Carlos & Guzmán, Ricardo Andrés & Cárdenas, Juan Camilo, 2008. "Institutions influence preferences: Evidence from a common pool resource experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 215-227, July.
  40. S. Bowles & S. Polania-Reyes., 2013. "Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: Substitutes or Complements?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
  41. Tilman Börgers & Peter Norman, 2005. "A Note on Budget Balance under Interim Participation Constraints: The Case of Independet Types," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2005_14, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  42. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2000. "Reciprocity and wage undercutting," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5905, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  43. Ramarao Desiraju & David E. M. Sappington, 2007. "Equity and Adverse Selection," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(2), pages 285-318, 06.
  44. Roger B. Myerson, 1977. "Incentive Compatability and the Bargaining Problem," Discussion Papers 284, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  45. De Marco, Giuseppe & Immordino, Giovanni, 2013. "Partnership, reciprocity and team design," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 39-58.
  46. Kosfeld, Michael & von Siemens, Ferdinand, 2007. "Competition, Cooperation, and Corporate Culture," IZA Discussion Papers 2927, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  47. Hitoshi Matsushima, 2007. "Behavioral Aspects of Implementation Theory," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-523, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  48. Myerson, Roger B. & Satterthwaite, Mark A., 1983. "Efficient mechanisms for bilateral trading," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 265-281, April.
  49. Fehr, Ernst & Klein, Alexander & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2005. "Fairness and Contract Design," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 67, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  50. Martin F. Hellwig, 2003. "Public-Good Provision with Many Participants," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 589-614.
  51. Glazer, Jacob & Rubinstein, Ariel, 1998. "Motives and Implementation: On the Design of Mechanisms to Elicit Opinions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 157-173, April.
  52. Eva I. Hoppe & Patrick W. Schmitz, 2013. "Contracting under Incomplete Information and Social Preferences: An Experimental Study," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1516-1544.
  53. Englmaier, Florian & Wambach, Achim, 2010. "Optimal incentive contracts under inequity aversion," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 312-328, July.
  54. Dohmen Thomas & Falk Armin & Huffman David & Sunde Uwe, 2008. "Homo Reciprocans: Survey Evidence on Behavioural Outcomes," ROA Research Memorandum 007, Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).
  55. d'ASPREMONT, Claude & GERARD-VARET, Louis-André, . "Incentives and incomplete information," CORE Discussion Papers RP 354, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  56. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2007. "Guilt in Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 170-176, May.
  57. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  58. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, December.
  59. Norman,P., 2000. "Efficient mechanisms for public goods with use exclusions," Working papers 15, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  60. Rob, R., 1988. "Pollution Claim Settlements Under Private Information," Papers 19-88, Tel Aviv.
  61. Bodoh-Creed, Aaron L., 2012. "Ambiguous beliefs and mechanism design," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 518-537.
  62. Nick Netzer & Armin Schmutzler, 2014. "Explaining Gift-Exchange—The Limits Of Good Intentions," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(6), pages 1586-1616, December.
  63. Edward Clarke, 1971. "Multipart pricing of public goods," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 17-33, September.
  64. Geoffroy de Clippel, 2014. "Behavioral Implementation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(10), pages 2975-3002, October.
  65. Offerman, Theo, 2002. "Hurting hurts more than helping helps," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1423-1437, September.
  66. Herold, Florian, 2010. "Contractual incompleteness as a signal of trust," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 180-191, January.
  67. Florian Englmaier & Stephen G. Leider, 2008. "Contractual and Organizational Structurewith Reciprocal Agents," CESifo Working Paper Series 2415, CESifo Group Munich.
  68. Mathevet, Laurent A., 2010. "Supermodular mechanism design," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5(3), September.
  69. Hahn, Volker, 2009. "Reciprocity and voting," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 467-480, November.
  70. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, 03.
  71. Ferdinand A. von Siemens, 2011. "Heterogeneous social preferences, screening, and employment contracts," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(3), pages 499-522, July.
  72. Antonio Cabrales & Raffaele Miniaci & Marco Piovesan & Giovanni Ponti, 2008. "Social Preferences and Strategic Uncertainty: An Experiment on Markets and Contracts," Discussion Papers 08-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  73. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs, 2001. "On the Nature of Fair Behaviour," CEPR Discussion Papers 2984, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  74. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
  75. Hitoshi Matsushima, 2006. "Role of Honesty in Full Implementation," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-405, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  76. Cramton, Peter & Gibbons, Robert & Klemperer, Paul, 1987. "Dissolving a Partnership Efficiently," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 615-32, May.
  77. Maskin, Eric S & Riley, John G, 1984. "Optimal Auctions with Risk Averse Buyers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1473-1518, November.
  78. Engelmann Dirk & Strobel Martin, 2002. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," Research Memorandum 015, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  79. von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2009. "Bargaining under incomplete information, fairness, and the hold-up problem," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 486-494, August.
  80. von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2013. "Intention-based reciprocity and the hidden costs of control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 55-65.
  81. Bassi, Matteo & Pagnozzi, Marco & Piccolo, Salvatore, 2014. "Optimal contracting with altruism and reciprocity," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 27-38.
  82. Oren Bar-Gill, 2004. "Law and Preferences," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 331-352, October.
  83. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Martin Dufwenberg, 2005. "Dynamic Psychological Games," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000046, UCLA Department of Economics.
  84. Fehr, Ernst & Hart, Oliver & Zehnder, Christian, 2008. "Contracts as Reference Points: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 3889, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  85. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs, 2008. "Testing theories of fairness--Intentions matter," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 287-303, January.
  86. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  87. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
  88. Daniel Kahneman & Peter P. Wakker & Rakesh Sarin, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-406.
  89. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 1997. "Reciprocity as a contract enforcement device: experimental evidence," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5911, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  90. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
  91. Heifetz, Aviad & Segev, Ella & Talley, Eric, 2007. "Market design with endogenous preferences," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 121-153, January.
  92. Kfir Eliaz, 2002. "Fault Tolerant Implementation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 589-610.
  93. Gani Aldashev & Georg Kirchsteiger & Alexander Sebald, 2012. "Assignment procedure biases in randomized policy experiments," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 292, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  94. Sebald, Alexander, 2010. "Attribution and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 339-352, January.
  95. Egbert Dierker & Hans Haller, 1990. "Tax systems and direct mechanisms in large finite economies," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 99-116, June.
  96. Cabrales, Antonio & Serrano, Roberto, 2011. "Implementation in adaptive better-response dynamics: Towards a general theory of bounded rationality in mechanisms," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 360-374.
  97. McCabe, Kevin A. & Rigdon, Mary L. & Smith, Vernon L., 2003. "Positive reciprocity and intentions in trust games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 267-275, October.
  98. Ruffle, Bradley J., 1999. "Gift giving with emotions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 399-420, July.
  99. Groves, Theodore, 1973. "Incentives in Teams," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 617-31, July.
  100. Frédéric Gaspart, 2003. "A general concept of procedural fairness for one-stage implementation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 21(2), pages 311-322, October.
  101. Ferdinand A. Von Siemens, 2009. "Bargaining under Incomplete Information, Fairness, and the Hold-Up Problem¤," Post-Print hal-00674101, HAL.
  102. Oren Bar-Gill & Chaim Fershtman, 2005. "Public Policy with Endogenous Preferences," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(5), pages 841-857, December.
  103. Netzer, Nick & Schmutzler, Armin, 2010. "Rotten Kids with Bad Intentions," CEPR Discussion Papers 7667, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  104. Peter J. Hammond, 1979. "Straightforward Individual Incentive Compatibility in Large Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(2), pages 263-282.
  105. Ernst Fehr & Oliver Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2008. "Contracts as reference points � experimental evidence," IEW - Working Papers 393, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  106. Peter Norman, 2004. "Efficient Mechanisms for Public Goods with Use Exclusions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1163-1188.
  107. Saran, Rene, 2011. "Menu-dependent preferences and revelation principle," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(4), pages 1712-1720, July.
  108. Bartling, Björn, 2011. "Relative performance or team evaluation? Optimal contracts for other-regarding agents," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 183-193, August.
  109. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2008. "Contracts as Reference Points," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 1-48.
  110. Naoko Nishimura & Timothy N. Cason & Tatsuyoshi Saijo & Yoshikazu Ikeda, 2011. "Spite and Reciprocity in Auctions," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(3), pages 365, September.
  111. Yair Antler, 2015. "Two-Sided Matching with Endogenous Preferences," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 241-58, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:066. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marita Kieser)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.