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Auditing Policies and Information Systems in Principal-agent Analysis

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  • Marie-Cécile Fagart
  • Bernard Sinclair-Desgagné

    ()
    (IEA, HEC Montréal)

Abstract

This paper considers the information systems induced by auditing policies in a principal- agent model with moral hazard. We point out that two such information systems A and B are seldom comparable using the customary mean-preserving spread relation between their respective likelihood ratio distributions. We offer a general extension of this criterion, however, and we use it to show that, provided the sign of the third derivative of the agent’s inverse utility function is constant, it is yet often possible to rank A against B because one of the corresponding likelihood ratio distributions dominates the other in the third order. The upshot is that the design of optimal auditing policies involves not only the well-known trade-off between risk-sharing and incentives, but also an examination of the location of risk.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 02-02.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iea:carech:0202

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Postal: Institut d'économie appliquée HEC Montréal 3000, Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine Montréal, Québec H3T 2A7
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Related research

Keywords: Principal-agent; moral hazard; audits; prudence; likelihood ratio distribution; third-order stochastic dominance.;

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References

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  1. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
  3. Kim, Son Ku, 1995. "Efficiency of an Information System in an Agency Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(1), pages 89-102, January.
  4. Sinclair-Desgagne, Bernard, 1999. "How to Restore Higher-Powered Incentives in Multitask Agencies," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(2), pages 418-33, July.
  5. Eeckhoudt, Louis & Gollier, Christian & Schneider, Thierry, 1995. "Risk-aversion, prudence and temperance: A unified approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(3-4), pages 331-336, June.
  6. Jewitt, Ian, 1988. "Justifying the First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1177-90, September.
  7. Sanford Grossman & Oliver Hart, . "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 15-80, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  8. Hartwick, John M., 1999. "Insuring and u'''(y)," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 205-212, November.
  9. Menezes, C & Geiss, C & Tressler, J, 1980. "Increasing Downside Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 921-32, December.
  10. Ronald A. Dye, 1986. "Optimal Monitoring Policies in Agencies," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 339-350, Autumn.
  11. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
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