Postponed Implementation

34 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2006

See all articles by Anastasia V. Kartasheva

Anastasia V. Kartasheva

University of St. Gallen - I.VW-HSG; Joshua J. Harris Alternative Investment Program; Swiss Finance Institute

Date Written: May 3, 2006


The paper studies the incentives of a principal to postpone implementation of her contract when she anticipates that the agent will contract with other parties in the future. We consider a sequential common agency game between two principals and a single agent under private information about his preferences. The contract of the first principal exerts a pure information externality on the contract of the second one. When the first contract is immediately enforced, the first principal has to compensate the agent for the loss of information advantage due to observability of the outcome of the contract by the other principal. We characterize optimal contracts under immediate and postponed implementation. By postponing the implementation of her contract, the first principal avoids the information leakage induced by her contract which makes the information acquisition less costly. We introduce the possibility of renegotiation of the first contract, and show that the first principal can reduce the uncertainty at the renegotiation stage by committing to status quo contract favorable to the agent.

Keywords: sequential contracting, information externality, immediate and postponed implementation

JEL Classification: D82, C73, L14

Suggested Citation

Kartasheva, Anastasia V., Postponed Implementation (May 3, 2006). Available at SSRN: or

Anastasia V. Kartasheva (Contact Author)

University of St. Gallen - I.VW-HSG ( email )

Kirchlistrasse 2
St. Gallen, 9010

Joshua J. Harris Alternative Investment Program ( email )

The Wharton School
3620 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Swiss Finance Institute ( email )

c/o University of Geneva
40, Bd du Pont-d'Arve
CH-1211 Geneva 4

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