A Note on Budget Constraints and Outside Options in Common Agency

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Bernheim and Whinston (Q J Econ 101:1–31, 1986) show that, in a common agency problem without budget constraints, the set of Nash equilibria with truthful strategies (TNE), the set of coalition-proof Nash equilibria (CPNE), and the principal-optimal core of the underlying coalitional game are non-empty and all equivalent in payoff space. We show that, with budget constraints, none of Bernheim and Whinston’s (Q J Econ 101:1–31, 1986) results hold: (i) a CPNE may not exist, (ii) a TNE may not exist even when a CPNE exists, (iii) a TNE may not be a CPNE, and (iv) both TNE and CPNE payoffs are core allocations but are not necessarily principal-optimal. However, when principals have outside options but no budget constraints, (i), and (iii) continue to hold but not for (ii) and (iv). In particular, a TNE always exists but the core may be empty.

Theory and Decision, 83(1), 2017, 95-106
Chiu Yu Ko
Chiu Yu Ko
Associate Professor

My research interests include Game Theory, Industrial Organization, Political Economics and Financial Economics.