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Tractability in Incentive Contracting

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  • Edmans, Alex

    (University of PA)

  • Gabaix, Xavier

    (NYU)

Abstract

This paper identifies a class of multiperiod agency problems in which the optimal contract is tractable (attainable in closed form). By modeling the noise before the action in each period, we force the contract to provide correct incentives state-by-state, rather than merely on average. This tightly constrains the set of admissible contracts and allows for a simple solution to the contracting problem. Our results continue to hold in continuous time, where noise and actions are simultaneous. We thus extend the tractable contracts of Holmstrom and Milgrom (1987) to settings that do not require exponential utility, a pecuniary cost of effort, Gaussian noise or continuous time. The contract's functional form is independent of the noise distribution. Moreover, if the cost of effort is pecuniary (multiplicative), the contract is linear (log-linear) in output and its slope is independent of the noise distribution, utility function and reservation utility.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center in its series Working Papers with number 10-13.

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Date of creation: Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:upafin:10-13

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References

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  1. Alex Edmans & Xavier Gabaix & Tomasz Sadzik & Yuliy Sannikov, 2009. "Dynamic Incentive Accounts," NBER Working Papers 15324, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lacker, Jeffrey M & Weinberg, John A, 1989. "Optimal Contracts under Costly State Falsification," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1345-63, December.
  3. Krishna, Vijay & Maenner, Eliot, 2001. "Convex Potentials with an Application to Mechanism Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 1113-19, July.
  4. Ingolf Dittmann & Ernst Maug, 2007. "Lower Salaries and No Options? On the Optimal Structure of Executive Pay," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(1), pages 303-343, 02.
  5. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1997. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," NBER Working Papers 6213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "The First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1357-67, November.
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  8. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
  9. PETER M. DeMARZO & YULIY SANNIKOV, 2006. "Optimal Security Design and Dynamic Capital Structure in a Continuous-Time Agency Model," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(6), pages 2681-2724, December.
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  13. Sappington, David, 1983. "Limited liability contracts between principal and agent," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-21, February.
  14. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-75, August.
  15. Maug, Ernst & Dittmann, Ingolf, 2007. "Lower Salaries and No Options: The Optimal Structure of Executive Pay," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 07-41, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  16. Biais, Bruno & Mariotti, Thomas & Plantin, Guillaume & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2004. "Dynamic Security Design: Convergence to Continuous Time and Asset Pricing Implications," IDEI Working Papers 312, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Sep 2006.
  17. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
  18. Spear, Stephen E & Srivastava, Sanjay, 1987. "On Repeated Moral Hazard with Discounting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 599-617, October.
  19. Hui Ou-Yang, 2003. "Optimal Contracts in a Continuous-Time Delegated Portfolio Management Problem," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 16(1), pages 173-208.
  20. Alberto Bennardo & Pierre-André Chiappori & Joon Song, 2010. "Perks as Second Best Optimal Compensations," CSEF Working Papers 244, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  21. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1979. "Optimal incentive contracts with imperfect information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 231-259, April.
  22. Yuliy Sannikov, 2008. "A Continuous-Time Version of the Principal-Agent Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 957-984.
  23. Richard Arnott & Joseph E Stiglitz, 2010. "Randomization with Asymmetric Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2054, David K. Levine.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Pierre Chaigneau & Nicolas Sahuguet, 2014. "Explaining the Association between Monitoring and Controversial CEO Pay Practices: an Optimal Contracting Perspective," Cahiers de recherche 1406, CIRPEE.
  2. Marco LiCalzi & Alessandro Pavan, 2003. "Tilting the Supply Schedule to Enhance Competition in Uniform-Price Auctions," Working Papers 2003.22, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  3. Alex Edmans & Xavier Gabaix & Tomasz Sadzik & Yuliy Sannikov, 2009. "Dynamic Incentive Accounts," NBER Working Papers 15324, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. George-Marios Angeletos & Alessandro Pavan, 2006. "Socially Optimal Coordination: Characterization and Policy Implications," NBER Working Papers 12778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Daniel F. Garrett & Alessandro Pavan, 2012. "Managerial Turnover in a Changing World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(5), pages 879 - 925.
  6. Pierre Chaigneau & Nicolas Sahuguet, 2013. "The effect of monitoring on CEO pay practices in a matching equilibrium," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 55405, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Chaigneau, Pierre, 2013. "Risk-shifting and the regulation of bank CEOs’ compensation," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 778-789.
  8. Alex Edmans & Xavier Gabaix, 2010. "Risk and the CEO Market: Why Do Some Large Firms Hire Highly-Paid, Low-Talent CEOs?," NBER Working Papers 15987, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Edmans, Alex & Gabaix, Xavier, 2010. "Risk and CEO Market: Why Do Some Large Firms Hire Highly-Paid, Low-Talent CEOs?," Working Papers 10-17, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
  10. Zhiguo He & Si Li & Bin Wei & Jianfeng Yu, 2013. "Uncertainty, risk, and incentives: theory and evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-18, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Laux, Volker, 2012. "Stock option vesting conditions, CEO turnover, and myopic investment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(3), pages 513-526.
  12. Golman, Russell & Bhatia, Sudeep, 2012. "Performance evaluation inflation and compression," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 534-543.

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