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Moral Hazard with Counterfeit Signals

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In many moral hazard problems, the principal evaluates the agent's performance based on signals which the agent may suppress and replace with counterfeits. This form of fraud may affect the design of optimal contracts drastically, leading to complete market failure in extreme cases. I show that in optimal contracts, the principal deters all fraud, and does so by two complementary mechanisms. First, the principal punishes signals that are suspicious, i.e. appear counterfeit. Second, the principal is lenient on bad signals that the agent could suppress, but does not.

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Paper provided by Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh in its series ESE Discussion Papers with number 225.

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Length: 39
Date of creation: 17 Sep 2013
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Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:225

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  1. Watson, Joel & Bull, Jesse, 2006. "Hard Evidence and Mechanism Design," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt7973v805, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  2. HOLMSTROM, Bengt, . "Moral hazard and observability," CORE Discussion Papers RP -379, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Green, Jerry R & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1986. "Partially Verifiable Information and Mechanism Design," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 447-56, July.
  4. Lacker, J.M., 1989. "Optimal Contracts Under Costly State Falsification," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 956, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  5. John R. Conlon, 2009. "Two New Conditions Supporting the First-Order Approach to Multisignal Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(1), pages 249-278, 01.
  6. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "The First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1357-67, November.
  7. Allen, Franklin & Gale, Douglas, 1992. "Measurement Distortion and Missing Contingencies in Optimal Contracts," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
  8. Kartik, Navin & Tercieux, Olivier, 2012. "Implementation with evidence," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 7(2), May.
  9. Paul R. Milgrom, 1979. "Good Nevs and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Discussion Papers 407R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Jewitt, Ian, 1988. "Justifying the First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1177-90, September.
  11. Giovanni Maggi & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 1995. "Costly Distortion of Information in Agency Problems," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 675-689, Winter.
  12. Andrew Clausen & Carlo Strub, 2012. "Envelope theorems for non-smooth and non-concave optimization," ECON - Working Papers 062, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
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