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Discussion Paper

Dynamic Mechanisms without Money

We analyze the optimal design of dynamic mechanisms in the absence of transfers. The designer uses future allocation decisions as a way of eliciting private information. Values evolve according to a two-state Markov chain. We solve for the optimal allocation rule, which admits a simple implementation. Unlike with transfers, efficiency decreases over time, and both immiseration and its polar opposite are possible long-run outcomes. Considering the limiting environment in which time is continuous, we show that persistence hurts.