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Bertrand and Walras Equilibria Under Moral Hazard

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  • Bennardo, Alberto
  • Chiappori, Pierre-André

Abstract

We consider a simple model of competition under moral hazard with constant return technologies. We consider preferences that are not separable in effort: marginal utility of income is assumed to increase with leisure, especially for high-income levels. We show that, in this context, Bertrand competition may result in positive equilibrium profit. This result holds for purely idiosyncratic shocks when only deterministic contracts are considered, and extends to unrestricted contract spaces in the presence of aggregate uncertainty. Finally, these findings have important consequences upon the definition of an equilibrium. We show that, in this context, a Walrasian general equilibrium a la Prescott-Townsend may fail to exist: any 'equilibrium' must involve rationing.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3650.

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Date of creation: Nov 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3650

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Keywords: competition; moral hazard; rationing;

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  1. Richard Arnott & Joseph Stiglitz, 1993. "Price Equilibrium, Efficiency, And Decentralizability In Insurance Markets With Moral Hazard," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 254, Boston College Department of Economics.
  2. Douglas Gale, 1996. "Equilibria and Pareto optima of markets with adverse selection (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 207-235.
  3. Malcomson, James M, 1984. "Work Incentives, Hierarchy, and Internal Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 486-507, June.
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  7. Alberto Bisin & Danilo Guaitoli, 2004. "Moral Hazard and Nonexclusive Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(2), pages 306-328, Summer.
  8. Richard J. Arnott & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1988. "The Basic Analytics of Moral Hazard," NBER Working Papers 2484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Prescott, Edward C & Townsend, Robert M, 1984. "Pareto Optima and Competitive Equilibria with Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 21-45, January.
  10. Gjesdal, Froystein, 1982. "Information and Incentives: The Agency Information Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 373-90, July.
  11. Bester, Helmut, 1985. "Screening vs. Rationing in Credit Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 850-55, September.
  12. Helpman, Elhanan & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1975. "On moral hazard in general equilibrium theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 8-23, February.
  13. Dreze, Jacques H, 1975. "Existence of an Exchange Equilibrium under Price Rigidities," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 16(2), pages 301-20, June.
  14. Edward Simpson Prescott & Robert M. Townsend, 1996. "Theory of the firm: applied mechanism design," Working Paper 96-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  15. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  16. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  17. Jewitt, Ian, 1988. "Justifying the First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1177-90, September.
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