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Can Starving Start‐ups Beat Fat Labs? A Bandit Model of Innovation with Endogenous Financing Constraint

Alessandro Spiganti

Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2020, vol. 122, issue 2, 702-731

Abstract: Is there any such thing as too much capital when it comes to the financing of innovative projects? We study a principal–agent model in which the principal chooses the scale of the experiment, and the agent privately observes the outcome realizations and can privately choose the novelty of the project. When the agent has private access to a safe but non‐innovative project, the principal starves the agent of funds to incentivize risk‐taking. The principal quickly scales up after early successes, and can tolerate early failures. If the principal is equally informed about the outcome, then the agent is well‐resourced, resembling a large research and development department.

Date: 2020
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