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Moral Hazard with Counterfeit Signals

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  • Clausen, Andrew

Abstract

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 Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE) in its series SIRE Discussion Papers with number 2013-13.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:edn:sirdps:442

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  1. Andrew Clausen & Carlo Strub, 2012. "Envelope theorems for non-smooth and non-concave optimization," ECON - Working Papers 062, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  2. 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.
  3. Bull, Jesse & Watson, Joel, 2002. "Hard Evidence and Mechanism Design," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt7715f08f, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  4. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "The First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1357-67, November.
  5. Allen, Franklin & Gale, Douglas, 1992. "Measurement Distortion and Missing Contingencies in Optimal Contracts," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
  6. Lacker, J.M., 1989. "Optimal Contracts Under Costly State Falsification," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 956, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
  9. Paul R. Milgrom, 1981. "Good News and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 380-391, Autumn.
  10. 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.
  11. Kartik, Navin & Tercieux, Olivier, 2012. "Implementation with evidence," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 7(2), May.
  12. 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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