Optimal allocation with costly verification

Elchanan Ben-Porath, Eddie Dekel, Barton L. Lipman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A principal allocates an object to one of I agents. Each agent values receiving the object and has private information regarding the value to the principal of giving it to him. There are no monetary transfers, but the principal can check an agent's information at a cost. A favored-agent mechanism specifies a value v∗ and an agent i∗. If all agents other than i∗ report values below v∗, then i∗ receives the good and no one is checked. Otherwise, whoever reports the highest value is checked and receives the good if and only if her report is confirmed. All optimal mechanisms are essentially randomizations over optimal favored-agent mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3779-3813
Number of pages35
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Science FoundationSES-1227434, SES-0820333, SES-0851590
United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation
National Science Foundation1227434


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