A screening game is a two-player principal–agent type game used in economic and game theoretical modeling. Principal–agent problems are situations where there are two players whose interests are not necessarily matching with each other, but where complete honesty is not optimal for one player. This will lead to strategies where the players exchange information based in their actions which is to some degree noisy. This ambiguity prevents the other player from taking advantage of the first. The game is closely related to signaling games, but there is a difference in how information is exchanged.
The principal–agent problem, in political science and economics, occurs when one person or entity is able to make decisions and/or take actions on behalf of, or that impact, another person or entity: the "principal". This dilemma exists in circumstances where agents are motivated to act in their own best interests, which are contrary to those of their principals, and is an example of moral hazard.
Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction between rational decision-makers. It has applications in all fields of social science, as well as in logic and computer science. Originally, it addressed zero-sum games, in which one person's gains result in losses for the other participants. Today, game theory applies to a wide range of behavioral relations, and is now an umbrella term for the science of logical decision making in humans, animals, and computers.
In the principal-agent model, for instance, there is an employer (the principal) and a worker (the agent). The worker has a given skill level, and chooses the amount of effort he will exert. If the worker knows his ability (which is given at the outset, perhaps by nature), and can acquire credentials or somehow signal that ability to the employer before being offered a wage, then the problem is signaling. What sets apart a screening game is that the employer offers a wage level first, at which point the worker chooses the amount of credentials he will acquire (perhaps in the form of education or skills) and accepts or rejects a contract for a wage level. It is called screening, because the worker is screened by the employer in that the offers may be contingent on the skill level of the worker.
Some economists use the terms signaling and screening interchangeably, and the distinction can be attributed to Stiglitz and Weiss (1989).
In game theory, cheap talk is communication between players that does not directly affect the payoffs of the game. Providing and receiving information is free. This is in contrast to signaling in which sending certain messages may be costly for the sender depending on the state of the world.
In contract theory, signalling is the idea that one party credibly conveys some information about itself to another party. For example, in Michael Spence's job-market signalling model, (potential) employees send a signal about their ability level to the employer by acquiring education credentials. The informational value of the credential comes from the fact that the employer believes the credential is positively correlated with having greater ability and difficult for low ability employees to obtain. Thus the credential enables the employer to reliably distinguish low ability workers from high ability workers.
Within evolutionary biology, signalling theory is a body of theoretical work examining communication between individuals, both within species and across species. The central question is when organisms with conflicting interests, such as in sexual selection, should be expected to provide honest signals rather than cheating. Mathematical models describe how signalling can contribute to an evolutionarily stable strategy.
Labour economics seeks to understand the functioning and dynamics of the markets for wage labour.
New Keynesian economics is a school of contemporary macroeconomics that strives to provide microeconomic foundations for Keynesian economics. It developed partly as a response to criticisms of Keynesian macroeconomics by adherents of new classical macroeconomics.
Andrew Michael Spence is a Canadian American economist and recipient of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, along with George Akerlof and Joseph E. Stiglitz, for their work on the dynamics of information flows and market development.
Adverse selection is a term commonly used in economics, insurance, and risk management that describes a situation where market participation is affected by asymmetric information. When buyers and sellers have different information, it is known as a state of asymmetric information. Traders with better private information about the quality of a product will selectively participate in trades which benefit them the most, at the expense of the other trader. A textbook example is Akerlof's market for lemons.
In contract theory and economics, information asymmetry deals with the study of decisions in transactions where one party has more or better information than the other. This asymmetry creates an imbalance of power in transactions, which can sometimes cause the transactions to go awry, a kind of market failure in the worst case. Examples of this problem are adverse selection, moral hazard, and monopolies of knowledge.
A wage is monetary compensation paid by an employer to an employee in exchange for work done. Payment may be calculated as a fixed amount for each task completed, or at an hourly or daily rate, or based on an easily measured quantity of work done.
In labor economics, the efficiency wage hypothesis argues that wages, at least in some markets, form in a way that is not market-clearing. Specifically, it points to the incentive for managers to pay their employees more than the market-clearing wage in order to increase their productivity or efficiency, or reduce costs associated with turnover, in industries where the costs of replacing labor are high. This increased labor productivity and/or decreased costs pay for the higher wages.
Paul Robert Milgrom is an American economist. He is the Shirley and Leonard Ely Professor of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University, a position he has held since 1987. Milgrom is an expert in game theory, specifically auction theory and pricing strategies. He is the co-creator of the no-trade theorem with Nancy Stokey. He is the co-founder of several companies, the most recent of which, Auctionomics, provides software and services that create efficient markets for complex commercial auctions and exchanges.
In game theory, a signaling game is a simple type of a dynamic Bayesian game.
Information economics or the economics of information is a branch of microeconomic theory that studies how information and information systems affect an economy and economic decisions. Information has special characteristics: It is easy to create but hard to trust. It is easy to spread but hard to control. It influences many decisions. These special characteristics complicate many standard economic theories.
In game theory, a Bayesian game is a game in which the players have incomplete information on the other players, but, they have beliefs with known probability distribution.
Employment discrimination is a form of discrimination based on race, gender, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, and gender identity by employers. Earnings differentials or occupational differentiation—where differences in pay come from differences in qualifications or responsibilities—should not be confused with employment discrimination. Discrimination can be intended and involve disparate treatment of a group or be unintended, yet create disparate impact for a group.
Screening in economics refers to a strategy of combating adverse selection, one of the potential decision-making complications in cases of asymmetric information, by the agent(s) with less information. The concept of screening was first developed by Michael Spence (1973), and should be distinguished from signalling, a strategy of combating adverse selection undertaken by the agent(s) with more information.
Involuntary unemployment occurs when a person is willing to work at the prevailing wage yet is unemployed. Involuntary unemployment is distinguished from voluntary unemployment, where workers choose not to work because their reservation wage is higher than the prevailing wage. In an economy with involuntary unemployment there is a surplus of labor at the current real wage. Involuntary unemployment cannot be represented with a basic supply and demand model at a competitive equilibrium: All workers on the labor supply curve above the market wage would voluntarily choose not to work, and all those below the market wage would be employed. Given the basic supply and demand model, involuntarily unemployed workers lie somewhere off of the labor supply curve. Economists have several theories explaining the possibility of involuntary unemployment including implicit contract theory, disequilibrium theory, staggered wage setting, and efficiency wages.
In economics, a monopsony is a market structure in which a single buyer substantially controls the market as the major purchaser of goods and services offered by many would-be sellers. In the microeconomic theory of monopsony, a single entity is assumed to have market power over sellers as the only purchaser of a good or service, much in the same manner that a monopolist can influence the price for its buyers in a monopoly, in which only one seller faces many buyers.
In macroeconomics, rigidities are real prices and wages that fail to adjust to the level indicated by equilibrium or if something holds one price or wage fixed to a relative value of another. Real rigidities can be distinguished from nominal rigidities, rigidities that do not adjust because prices can be sticky and fail to change value even as the underlying factors that determine prices fluctuate. Real rigidities, along with nominal, are a key part of new Keynesian economics. Economic models with real rigidities lead to nominal shocks having a large impact on the economy.
In economics, implicit contracts refer to voluntary and self-enforcing long term agreements made between two parties regarding the future exchange of goods or services. Implicit contracts theory was first developed to explain why there are quantity adjustments (layoffs) instead of price adjustments in the labor market during recessions.
The importance of social ties in job searching is known, and empirically proved for quite a while, workers often find jobs through their friends and relatives. However, the exploration of the role of social networks in labor market outcomes has just recently started. New evidence shows that social networks not only increase the productivity of job searching but partly explain wage differences, and help decreasing the information asymmetry between the employer and employee.