Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Gaming and Strategic Opacity in Incentive Provision

Contents:

Author Info

Abstract

It is often suggested that incentive schemes under moral hazard can be gamed by an agent with superior knowledge of the environment, and that deliberate lack of transparency about the incentive scheme can reduce gaming. We formally investigate these arguments in a two-task moral hazard model in which the agent is privately informed about which task is less costly for him to work on. We examine two simple classes of incentive scheme that are "opaque" in that they make the agent uncertain ex ante about the values of the incentive coefficients in the linear payment rule. We show that, relative to deterministic menus of linear contracts, these opaque schemes induce more balanced efforts, but they also impose more risk on the agent per unit of aggregate effort induced. We identify settings in which optimally designed opaque schemes not only strictly dominate the best deterministic menu but also completely eliminate the efficiency losses from the agent's better knowledge of the environment. Opaque schemes are more likely to be preferred to transparent ones when i) efforts on the tasks are highly complementary for the principal; ii) the agent's privately known preference between the tasks is weak; iii) the agent's risk aversion is significant; and iv) the errors in measuring performance on the tasks have large correlation or small variance.

Download Info

If 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.
File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d19a/d1935.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1935.

as in new window
Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1935

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:
Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

Related research

Keywords: Incentives; Gaming; Contracts; Opacity;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
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.:
as in new window
  1. Bond, Philip & Gomes, Armando, 2009. "Multitask principal-agent problems: Optimal contracts, fragility, and effort misallocation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 175-211, January.
  2. Glenn MacDonald & Leslie M. Marx, 2001. "Adverse Specialization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(4), pages 864-899, August.
  3. Ratto, Marisa & Tominey, Emma & Propper, Carol & Burgess, Simon M., 2012. "Incentives in the Public Sector: Evidence from a Government Agency," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/12197, Paris Dauphine University.
  4. Florian Englmaier & Andreas Roider & Uwe Sunde, 2012. "The Role of Salience in Performance Schemes: Evidence from a Field Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 3771, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. David Rahman, 2012. "But Who Will Monitor the Monitor?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2767-97, October.
  6. Paul Oyer, 1998. "Fiscal Year Ends And Nonlinear Incentive Contracts: The Effect On Business Seasonality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 149-185, February.
  7. Scott E. Carrell & James E. West, 2010. "Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(3), pages 409-432, 06.
  8. Looney, Adam & Kroft, Kory & Chetty, Raj, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," Scholarly Articles 9748525, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1981. "Self-Selection and Pareto Efficient Taxation," NBER Working Papers 0632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
  11. Andrew Healy & Jennifer Pate, 2011. "Can Teams Help to Close the Gender Competition Gap?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(555), pages 1192-1204, 09.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Hogarth, Robin M. & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2014. "Ambiguous incentives and the persistence of effort: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 1-19.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1935. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Glena Ames).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.