DP11904 | Prizes versus Contracts as Incentives for Innovation

Publication Date

03/12/2017

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Abstract

Procuring an innovation involves motivating a research effort to generate a new idea and then implementing that idea effciently. If research efforts are unverifiable and implementation costs are private information, a trade-ooff arises between the two objectives. The optimal mechanism resolves the tradeoff via two instruments: a monetary prize and a contract to implement the project. The optimal mechanism favors the innovator in contract allocation when the value of innovation is above a certain threshold, and handicaps the innovator in contract allocation when the value of innovation is below that threshold. A monetary prize is employed as an additional incentive but only when the value of innovation is suffciently high.