nep-mic New Economics Papers
on Microeconomics
Issue of 2024‒04‒01
thirteen papers chosen by
Jing-Yuan Chiou, National Taipei University

  1. Bargaining with Binary Private Information By Francesc Dilmé
  2. Delegation with Endogenous States By Dino Gerardi; Lucas Maestri; Ignacio Monzón
  3. Regret in Durable-Good Monopoly By Rumen Kostadinov
  4. Optimality of weighted contracts for multi-agent contract design with a budget By Sumit Goel; Wade Hann-Caruthers
  5. Predicting the Unpredictable under Subjective Expected Utility By Burkhard C. Schipper
  6. Supply contracting under dynamic asymmetric cost information By Luca Di Corato; Michele Moretto
  7. Cross-ownership in duopoly: Are there any incentives to divest? By Rupayan Pal; Emmanuel Petrakis
  8. Allocation Mechanisms with Mixture-Averse Preferences By David Dillenberger; Uzi Segal
  9. Sequential unanimity voting rules for binary social choice By Stergios Athanasoglou; Somouaoga Bonkoungou
  10. Group size as selection device By Francesco De Sinopoli; Leo Ferraris; Claudia Meroni
  11. An equilibrium analysis of the Arad-Rubinstein game By Christian Ewerhart; Stanisław Kaźmierowski
  12. The matching problem with linear transfers is equivalent to a hide-and-seek game By Alfred Galichon; Antoine Jacquet
  13. Stable Menus of Public Goods: A Matching Problem By Sara Fish; Yannai A. Gonczarowski; Sergiu Hart

  1. By: Francesc Dilmé
    Abstract: This paper studies bargaining between a seller and a buyer with binary private valuation. Because the setting is more tractable than the case of general valuation distributions (studied in Gul et al., 1986), we are able to explicitly construct the full set of equilibria via induction. This lets us provide a simple proof of the Coase conjecture and obtain new results: The seller extracts all surplus as she becomes more patient, and the equilibrium outcome converges to the perfect-information outcome as private information vanishes. We also fully characterize the case where there is a deadline: We establish that if the probability that the buyer’s valuation is high is large enough, then the seller charges a high price at all times, there are trade bursts at the outset and the deadline, and trade occurs at a constant rate in between.
    Keywords: Bargaining, private information, one-sided offers.
    JEL: C78 D82
    Date: 2024–03
  2. By: Dino Gerardi (Collegio Carlo Alberto/University of Turin); Lucas Maestri (FGV EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças); Ignacio Monzón (Collegio Carlo Alberto/University of Turin)
    Abstract: We present a model of delegation with moral hazard. A principal delegates a decision to an agent, who affects the distribution of the state of the world by exerting costly and unobservable effort. The principal faces a trade-off between (i) granting the agent discretion, so he can adapt the decision to the state and (ii) limiting the agent’s discretion, to induce him to exert effort. Our model is flexible on how effort affects the state distribution, thus capturing several distinct economic environments. Optimal delegation takes one of four simple forms, all commonly used in practice: floors, ceilings, floor-ceilings or gaps.
    Keywords: delegation, moral hazard, endogenous state, floors, ceilings, caps, gaps
    JEL: C70 C78 D82
    Date: 2024–03
  3. By: Rumen Kostadinov
    Abstract: I study a dynamic model of durable-good monopoly where the seller cannot commit to future prices and is uncertain about the buyer’s value. I adopt a prior-free approach where the seller minimises lifetime regret against the worstcase type of the buyer. In the unique equilibrium the seller’s worst-case regret against types who purchase at any given time equals the worst-case regret against types who purchase at any other time. The seller cannot profitably deviate even if he could commit to his deviation. Despite this, the equilibrium does not match the commitment outcome. This is because the seller’s objective is endogenously determined by his optimal counterfactual behaviour against each type, which is time-inconsistent. The Coase conjecture holds: in the frequent-offer limit the good is sold immediately at a price equal to the lowest value.
    Keywords: durable-good monopoly; Coase conjecture; regret
    JEL: C73 D81
    Date: 2024–03
  4. By: Sumit Goel; Wade Hann-Caruthers
    Abstract: We study a contract design problem between a principal and multiple agents. Each agent participates in an independent task with binary outcomes (success or failure), in which it may exert costly effort towards improving its probability of success, and the principal has a fixed budget which it can use to provide outcome-dependent rewards to the agents. Crucially, we assume the principal cares only about maximizing the agents' probabilities of success, not how much of the budget it expends. We first show that a contract is optimal for some objective if and only if it is a successful-get-everything contract. An immediate consequence of this result is that piece-rate contracts and bonus-pool contracts are never optimal in this setting. We then show that for any objective, there is an optimal priority-based weighted contract, which assigns positive weights and priority levels to the agents, and splits the budget among the highest-priority successful agents, with each such agent receiving a fraction of the budget proportional to her weight. This result provides a significant reduction in the dimensionality of the principal's optimal contract design problem and gives an interpretable and easily implementable optimal contract. Finally, we discuss an application of our results to the design of optimal contracts with two agents and quadratic costs. In this context, we find that the optimal contract assigns a higher weight to the agent whose success it values more, irrespective of the heterogeneity in the agents' cost parameters. This suggests that the structure of the optimal contract depends primarily on the bias in the principal's objective and is, to some extent, robust to the heterogeneity in the agents' cost functions.
    Date: 2024–02
  5. By: Burkhard C. Schipper
    Abstract: We consider a decision maker who is unaware of objects to be sampled and thus cannot form beliefs about the occurrence of particular objects. Ex ante she can form beliefs about the occurrence of novelty and the frequencies of yet to be known objects. Conditional on any sampled objects, she can also form beliefs about the next object being novel or being one of the previously sampled objects. We characterize behaviorally such beliefs under subjective expected utility. In doing so, we relate "reverse" Bayesianism, a central property in the literature on decision making under growing awareness, with exchangeable random partitions, the central property in the literature on the discovery of species problem and mutations in statistics, combinatorial probability theory, and population genetics. Partition exchangeable beliefs do not necessarily satisfy "reverse" Bayesianism. Yet, the most prominent models of exchangeable random partitions, the model by De Morgan (1838), the one parameter model of Ewens (1972), and the two parameter model of Pitman (1995) and Zabell (1997), do satisfy "reverse" Bayesianism.
    Date: 2024–03
  6. By: Luca Di Corato (Department of Economics, Ca Foscari University of Venice); Michele Moretto (Department of Economics and Management, University of Padova, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and Centro Studi Levi-Case)
    Abstract: We consider a long-term contractual relationship in which a buyer procures a fixed quantity of a product from a supplier and then sells it on the market. The production cost is private information and evolves randomly over time. The solution to this dynamic principal-agent problem involves a periodic two-part payment. The fixed part of the payment depends on the initial supplier’s cost type while the other is contingent on the current cost type. A notable feature is that, by using the information about the initial cost type, the buyer can reduce the burden of information rents paid for the revelation of the future cost type. We show that the distortion, resulting from information asymmetry, remains constant over time and decreases with the initial type. Lastly, we show that our analysis immediately applies also when input prices are private information and evolve randomly over time.
    Keywords: Dynamic Principal-Agent model, Supply contracting, Continuous time, Two-part payment
    JEL: C61 D82 D86
    Date: 2024–02
  7. By: Rupayan Pal (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research); Emmanuel Petrakis (Departamento de Econom¡a, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: This paper shows that in a duopoly a firm has no incentives to divest its passive shares in its rival when firms' strategies are strategic complements. This holds independently whether goods are substitutes or complements and whether firms engage in simultaneous or sequential move product market competition. However, if firms' strategies are strategic substitutes and are engaged in simultaneous move competition, it is optimal for both firms to fully divest their shares in their rivals under a private placement mechanism via independent intermediaries or under competitive bidding. Yet, in the sequential move game only the follower has such incentives. Notably, under a private placement mechanism via a common intermediary, there are circumstances under which there are partial or no firms' divestment incentives, highlighting that the divestment mechanism employed by firms may have a crucial role on their divestment incentives.
    Keywords: Cross-ownership, passive shares, strategic substitutes and complements, divestment incentives, market competition
    JEL: L13 L41 L2 D43
    Date: 2024–02
  8. By: David Dillenberger (University of Pennsylvania); Uzi Segal (Boston College)
    Abstract: Consider an economy with equal amounts of N types of goods, to be allocated to agents with strict quasi-convex preferences over lotteries. We show that ex-ante, all feasible and Pareto efficient al- locations give almost all agents a binary lottery. Therefore, even if all preferences are the same, some identical agents necessarily receive different lotteries. Our results imply that many of the popular alloca- tion mechanisms used in practice are not ex-ante efficient. Assuming the reduction of compound lotteries axiom, social welfare deteriorates by first randomizing over these binary lotteries. Full ex-ante equality can be achieved if agents satisfy the compound independence axiom.
    Keywords: Allocation Problem, Binary Lotteries, Ex-Ante Efficiency, Matching, No-Envy, Non-Expected Utility, Quasi-Convex Preferences.
    JEL: C78 D61 D81
    Date: 2024–03–03
  9. By: Stergios Athanasoglou; Somouaoga Bonkoungou
    Abstract: We consider a group of voters that needs to decide between two candidates. We propose a novel family of neutral and strategy-proof rules, which we call sequential unanimity rules. By demonstrating their formal equivalence to the M-winning coalition rules of Moulin (1983), we show that sequential unanimity rules are characterized by neutrality and strategy-proofness. We establish our results by developing algorithms that transform a given M-winning coalition rule into an equivalent sequential unanimity rule and vice versa. The analysis can be extended to accommodate the full preference domain in which voters may be indifferent between candidates.
    Date: 2024–02
  10. By: Francesco De Sinopoli; Leo Ferraris; Claudia Meroni
    Abstract: In a coordination game with multiple Pareto ordered equilibria and population uncertainty, we show that group size helps select a unique equilibrium, for reasons reminiscent of the global games literature. A critical mass phenomenon emerges at equilibrium. Group size has an emboldening effect on participants.
    Keywords: Poisson Games, Coordination Games, Equilibrium Selection, Global Games
    JEL: C72 D82
    Date: 2024–03
  11. By: Christian Ewerhart; Stanisław Kaźmierowski
    Abstract: Colonel Blotto games with discrete strategy spaces effectively illustrate the intricate nature of multidimensional strategic reasoning. This paper studies the equilibrium set of such games where, in line with prior experimental work, the tie-breaking rule is allowed to be flexible. We begin by pointing out that equilibrium constructions known from the literature extend to our class of games. However, we also note that, irrespective of the tie-breaking rule, the equilibrium set is excessively large. Specifically, any pure strategy that allocates at most twice the fair share to each battlefield is used with positive probability in some equilibrium. Furthermore, refinements based on the elimination of weakly dominated strategies prove ineffective. To derive specific predictions amid this multiplicity, we compute strategies resulting from long-run adaptive learning.
    Keywords: Colonel Blotto games, multidimensional strategic reasoning, tiebreaking rules, Nash equilibrium, dominated strategies, adaptive learning
    JEL: C72 C91 D74
    Date: 2024–03
  12. By: Alfred Galichon; Antoine Jacquet
    Abstract: Matching problems with linearly transferable utility (LTU) generalize the well-studied transferable utility (TU) case by relaxing the assumption that utility is transferred one-for-one within matched pairs. We show that LTU matching problems can be reframed as nonzero-sum games between two players, thus generalizing a result from von Neumann. The underlying linear programming structure of TU matching problems, however, is lost when moving to LTU. These results draw a new bridge between non-TU matching problems and the theory of bimatrix games, with consequences notably regarding the computation of stable outcomes.
    Date: 2024–02
  13. By: Sara Fish; Yannai A. Gonczarowski; Sergiu Hart
    Abstract: We study a matching problem between agents and public goods, in settings without monetary transfers. Since goods are public, they have no capacity constraints. There is no exogenously defined budget of goods to be provided. Rather, each provided good must justify its cost, leading to strong complementarities in the "preferences" of goods. Furthermore, goods that are in high demand given other already-provided goods must also be provided. The question of the existence of a stable solution (a menu of public goods to be provided) exhibits a rich combinatorial structure. We uncover sufficient conditions and necessary conditions for guaranteeing the existence of a stable solution, and derive both positive and negative results for strategyproof stable matching.
    Date: 2024–02

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