AbstractWe consider whether a career-minded expert would make better decisions if the principal could observe the consequences of the expert's action. The previous literature has found that this “transparency of consequence” can only improve the efficacy of the expert's decision making. We show, however, that this conclusion is very sensitive to the specified cost structure: if learning the consequences of the expert's action makes the expert more likely to choose the action most likely to correspond to the true state of the world, when costs are asymmetric, this can be associated with a decrease in the principal's expected welfare. In addition, we show that, when the prior on the state of the world is sufficiently strong, if the principal benefits from learning the consequences of the expert's action, her utility is higher if she observes only the consequences and not the action taken. For such priors, the optimal transparency regime will involve either the principal observing only the expert's action or only the consequences of the expert's action: it will never be optimal to observe both. We illustrate these results with examples from finance and public policymaking.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.
Volume (Year): 96 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578
Transparency; Reputation; Herding; Principal-agent; Welfare;
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Scharfstein, David S & Stein, Jeremy C, 1990.
"Herd Behavior and Investment,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 465-79, June.
- Terrance Odean, 1998. "Volume, Volatility, Price, and Profit When All Traders Are Above Average," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(6), pages 1887-1934, December.
- Prat, Andrea, 2003.
"The Wrong Kind of Transparency,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
3859, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Richard H. Thaler, 2000. "From Homo Economicus to Homo Sapiens," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 133-141, Winter.
- Bengt Holmstrom, 1999.
"Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective,"
NBER Working Papers
6875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Holmstrom, Bengt, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 169-82, January.
- Milbourn, Todd T & Shockley, Richard L & Thakor, Anjan V, 2001. "Managerial Career Concerns and Investments in Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(2), pages 334-51, Summer.
- Terrance Odean, 1998. "Volume, Volatility, Price and Profit When All Traders Are Above Average," Finance 9803001, EconWPA.
- Adam Brandenburger & Ben Polak, 1996. "When Managers Cover Their Posteriors: Making the Decisions the Market Wants to See," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(3), pages 523-541, Autumn.
- Suurmond, Guido & Swank, Otto H. & Visser, Bauke, 2004. "On the bad reputation of reputational concerns," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2817-2838, December.
- Levy, Gilat, 2004. "Anti-herding and strategic consultation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 503-525, June.
- In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997.
"Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
896, David K. Levine.
- Fox, Justin & Van Weelden, Richard, 2010. "Partisanship and the effectiveness of oversight," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 674-687, October.
- Volker Hahn, 2013. "Committee Design with Endogenous Participation," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2013-12, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
- Prato, Carlo & Wolton, Stephane, 2014. "The Voters' Curses: The Upsides and Downsides of Political Engagement," MPRA Paper 53482, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Garcia-Martinez, Jose A., 2013. "The Perverse Incentive of Knowing the Truth," MPRA Paper 43825, University Library of Munich, Germany.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.