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Overconfidence and Moral Hazard

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  • Leonidas Enrique de la Rosa

    ()
    (School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus, Denmark)

Abstract

In this paper, I study the effects of overconfidence on incentive contracts in a moral-hazard framework in which principal and agent knowingly hold asymmetric beliefs regarding the prob- ability of success of their enterprise. Agent overconfidence can have conflicting effects on the equilibrium contract. On the one hand, an overconfident agent disproportionately values success- contingent payments, and thus prefers higher-powered incentives. On the other hand, if the agent is overconfident in particular about the extent to which his actions affect the likelihood of success, lower-powered incentives are sufficient to induce any given effort level. If the agent is overall moderately overconfident, the latter effect dominates; because the agent bears less risk in this case, he actually benefits from his overconfidence. If the agent is significantly overcon- fident, the former effect dominates; the agent is then exposed to an excessive amount of risk, which is harmful to him. An increase in overconfidence - either about the base probability of success or the extent to which effort affects it - makes it more likely that high levels of effort are implemented in equilibrium.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus in its series Economics Working Papers with number 2007-08.

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Length: 43
Date of creation: 10 Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aah:aarhec:2007-08

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Web page: http://www.econ.au.dk/afn/

Related research

Keywords: overconfidence; heterogeneous beliefs; moral hazard;

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References

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  1. Hanming Fang & Giuseppe Moscarini, 2003. "Morale Hazard," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1422, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Van den Steen, Eric, 2005. "Too Motivated?," Working papers 18180, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  3. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-19, June.
  4. Villeneuve, Bertrand, 2000. "The consequences for a monopolistic insurance firm of evaluating risk better than customers : The adverse selection hypothesis reversed," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/5367, Paris Dauphine University.
  5. Smith, Clifford Jr. & Watts, Ross L., 1992. "The investment opportunity set and corporate financing, dividend, and compensation policies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 263-292, December.
  6. Morris, Stephen, 1995. "The Common Prior Assumption in Economic Theory," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(02), pages 227-253, October.
  7. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2005. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000341, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Santos-Pinto, Luís, 2003. "Positive self-image in tournaments," MPRA Paper 3140, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 27 Feb 2007.
  9. Gervais, Simon & Odean, Terrance, 2001. "Learning to be Overconfident," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(1), pages 1-27.
  10. Murphy, Kevin J., 1999. "Executive compensation," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2485-2563 Elsevier.
  11. Ulrike Malmendier & Geoffrey Tate, 2005. "CEO Overconfidence and Corporate Investment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(6), pages 2661-2700, December.
  12. Kostas Koufopoulos, 2002. "Asymmetric Information, Heterogeneity in Risk Perceptions and Insurance: An Explanation to a Puzzle," FMG Discussion Papers dp402, Financial Markets Group.
  13. Dan Lovallo & Colin Camerer, 1999. "Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 306-318, March.
  14. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence And Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Luís Santos-Pinto, 2010. "Positive Self-Image In Tournaments," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(2), pages 475-496, 05.
  2. Luís Santos-Pinto, 2008. "Positive Self-image and Incentives in Organisations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(531), pages 1315-1332, 08.
  3. Auster, Sarah, 2013. "Asymmetric awareness and moral hazard," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 503-521.
  4. Anja Sautmann, 2011. "Contracts for Agents with Biased Beliefs: Some Theory and an Experiment," Working Papers 2011-10, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  5. Ludwig, Sandra & Wichardt, Philip C. & Wickhorst, Hanke, 2011. "On the Positive Effects of Overcon fident Self-Perception in Teams," Discussion Papers in Economics 12246, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Sarah Auster, 2012. "Asymmetric Awareness and Moral Hazard," Economics Working Papers ECO2012/23, European University Institute.
  7. Gyorgy Attila, 2012. "Agency Problems In Public Sector," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(1), pages 708-712, July.
  8. Iossa, Elisabetta & Martimort, David, 2013. "Hidden Action or Hidden Information? How Information Gathering Shapes Contract Design," CEPR Discussion Papers 9552, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Philipp Weinschenk, 2010. "Moral Hazard and Ambiguity," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2010_39, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  10. Herweg, Fabian & Müller, Daniel, 2013. "Overconfidence in the Markets for Lemons," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 452, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  11. Sloof, Randolph & van Praag, C. Mirjam, 2010. "The effect of noise in a performance measure on work motivation: A real effort laboratory experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 751-765, October.
  12. Sarah Auster, 2011. "Asymmetric Awareness and Moral Hazard," Economics Working Papers ECO2011/, European University Institute.
  13. Wang, Jian & Sheng, Jiliang & Yang, Jun, 2013. "Optimism bias and incentive contracts in portfolio delegation," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 493-499.
  14. Schrand, Catherine M. & Zechman, Sarah L.C., 2012. "Executive overconfidence and the slippery slope to financial misreporting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 311-329.

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