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Hierarchic contracting

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  • Rafael Hortala-Vallve
  • Miguel Sanchez

Abstract

We analyze the contracting structure in a moral hazard setting with several agents whereoutput is produced jointly and is the only contractible variable. Since the salary of each agentis a function of all agents efforts, a positive externality arises between them. This externalityis not internalised by a centralised structure where the principal contracts directly with eachagent. Instead, we find that a hierarchic structure (i.e. the delegation of "contracting rights"from the principal to the agents) internalises the externality by making agents "residualclaimants". Consequently, the second best situation can be improved upon just by changingthe contracting structure of the principal-agents relationship. The analysis is relevant to theliterature on decentralisation, outsourcing, subcontracting and intra-firm organization.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Distributional Analysis Research Programme Papers with number 73.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cep:stidar:73

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Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp

Related research

Keywords: Principal-multi-agent relationships; moral hazard; team production; decentralisation; hierarchies; contract design;

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  1. Jelovac, I. & Macho-Stadler, I., 1998. "Comparing Organizational Structures in Health Services," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 412.98, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  2. Choe, Chongwoo & Park, In-Uck, 2003. "Delegated Contracting and Corporate Hierarchies," CEI Working Paper Series 2003-23, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  3. Baliga, Sandeep & Sjostrom, Tomas, 1998. "Decentralization and Collusion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 196-232, December.
  4. Itoh, Hideshi, 1991. "Incentives to Help in Multi-agent Situations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 611-36, May.
  5. Bengt Holmstrom & Paul R. Milgrom, 1985. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 742, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Faure-Grimaud, Antoine & Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Martimort, David, 2003. "Collusion, Delegation and Supervision with Soft Information," IDEI Working Papers 167, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  7. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
  8. Nahum D. Melumad & Dilip Mookherjee & Stefan Reichelstein, 1995. "Hierarchical Decentralization of Incentive Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 654-672, Winter.
  9. Macho-Stadler, Ines & Perez-Castrillo, J David, 1998. "Centralized and Decentralized Contracts in a Moral Hazard Environment," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 489-510, December.
  10. Itoh Hideshi, 1993. "Coalitions, Incentives, and Risk Sharing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 410-427, August.
  11. Prendergast, Canice J, 1995. "A Theory of Responsibility in Organizations," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 387-400, July.
  12. Itoh, Hideshi, 1994. "Job design, delegation and cooperation: A principal-agent analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 691-700, April.
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