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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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  1. Yuliy Sannikov & Xavier Gabaix & Tomasz Sadzik & Alex Edmans, 2010. "Dynamic Incentive Accounts," 2010 Meeting Papers 1207, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Hellwig, Martin F., 2007. "The role of boundary solutions in principal-agent problems of the Holmstrom-Milgrom type," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 136(1), pages 446-475, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Laux, Volker, 2012. "Stock option vesting conditions, CEO turnover, and myopic investment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(3), pages 513-526.
  2. Yuliy Sannikov & Xavier Gabaix & Tomasz Sadzik & Alex Edmans, 2010. "Dynamic Incentive Accounts," 2010 Meeting Papers 1207, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Marco LiCalz & Alessandro Pavan, 2002. "Tilting the Supply Schedule to Enhance Competition on Uniform-Price Auctions," Discussion Papers 1495, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Golman, Russell & Bhatia, Sudeep, 2012. "Performance evaluation inflation and compression," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 534-543.
  5. 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.
  6. George-Marios Angeletos & Alessandro Pavan, 2006. "Socially Optimal Coordination: Characterization and Policy Implications," Discussion Papers 1496, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Edmans, Alex & Gabaix, Xavier, 2010. "Risk and the CEO Market: Why Do Some Large Firms Hire Highly-Paid, Low-Talent CEOs?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7836, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Pierre Chaigneau & Nicolas Sahuguet, 2014. "Explaining the Association between Monitoring and Controversial CEO Pay Practices: an Optimal Contracting Perspective," Cahiers de recherche 1406, CIRPEE.
  9. 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.).
  10. Daniel Garrett & Alessandro Pavan, 2010. "Managerial Turnover in a Changing World," Discussion Papers 1490, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. 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.
  12. Chaigneau, Pierre, 2013. "Risk-shifting and the regulation of bank CEOs’ compensation," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 778-789.

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