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Journal articles (2016), Canadian Journal of Economics, 49 (1), pp. 374-411

Reciprocal Relationships and Mechanism Design


We study an incomplete information game in which players can coordinate their actions by contracting among themselves. We model this relationship as a reciprocal contracting procedure where each player has the ability to make commitments contingent on the other players’ commitments. We differ from the rest of the literature on reciprocal contracting by assuming that punishments cannot be enforced in the event that cooperation breaks down. We fully characterize the outcomes that can be supported as perfect Bayesian equilibrium outcomes in such an environment. We use our characterization to show that the set of supportable outcomes with reciprocal contracting is larger than the set of outcomes available in a centralized mechanism design environment in which the mechanism designer is constrained by his inability to enforce punishments against non-participants. The difference stems from the players’ ability in our contracting game to convey partial information about their types at the time they offer contracts. We discuss the implications of our analysis for modelling collusion between multiple agents interacting with the same principal. Link to the article

CELIK, G. and PETERS, M. (2016). Reciprocal Relationships and Mechanism Design. Canadian Journal of Economics, 49(1), pp. 374-411.