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Incentives for Experimenting Agents

Johannes Hörner and Larry Samuelson ()
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Larry Samuelson: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, https://economics.yale.edu/people/faculty/larry-samuelson

No 1726, Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers from Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University

Abstract: We examine a repeated interaction between an agent, who undertakes experiments, and a principal who provides the requisite funding for these experiments. The agent's actions are hidden, and the principal, who makes the offers, cannot commit to future actions. We identify the unique Markovian equilibrium (whose structure depends on the parameters) and characterize the set of all equilibrium payoffs, uncovering a collection of non-Markovian equilibria that can Pareto dominate and reverse the qualitative properties of the Markovian equilibrium. The prospect of lucrative continuation payoffs makes it more expensive for the principal to incentivize the agent, giving rise to a dynamic agency cost. As a result, constrained efficient equilibrium outcomes call for nonstationary outcomes that front-load the agent's effort and that either attenuate or terminate the relationship inefficiently early.

Keywords: Experimentation; Learning; Agency; Dynamic agency; Venture capital; Repeated principal-agent problem (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D8 L2 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 65 pages
Date: 2009-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-bec, nep-cta, nep-gth, nep-mic and nep-ppm
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2)

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Related works:
Journal Article: Incentives for experimenting agents (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: Incentives for Experimenting Agents (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: Incentives for Experimenting Agents (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: Incentives for Experimenting Agents (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: Incentives for Experimenting Agents (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: Incentives for Experimenting Agents (2012) Downloads
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