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Optimal Incentive Contracts under Moral Hazard When the Agent Is Free to Leave

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  • Englmaier, Florian

    ()
    (University of Munich)

  • Muehlheusser, Gerd

    ()
    (University of Hamburg)

  • Roider, Andreas

    ()
    (University of Regensburg)

Abstract

We characterize optimal incentive contracts in a moral hazard framework extended in two directions. First, after effort provision, the agent is free to leave and pursue some ex-post outside option. Second, the value of this outside option is increasing in effort, and hence endogenous. Optimal contracts may entail properties such as inducing first-best effort and surplus, or non-responsiveness with respect to changes in verifiable parameters. Moreover, while always socially inefficient, separation might occur in equilibrium. Except for the latter, these findings are robust to renegotiation. When the outside option is exogenous instead, the standard results obtain.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5027.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5027

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Keywords: moral hazard; limited commitment; ex-post outside option; limited liability;

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  1. Imran Rasul & Silvia Sonderegger, 2008. "The Role of the Agent's Outside Options in Principal-Agent Relationships," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 08/605, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  2. Nick Netzer & Florian Scheuer, 2010. "Competitive Markets without Commitment," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 814577000000000462, www.najecon.org.
  3. O'Flaherty, B. & Siow, A., 1990. "Up or Out Rules in the Market for Lawers," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 90-10, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  4. Anton, James J & Yao, Dennis A, 1995. "Start-ups, Spin-offs, and Internal Projects," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 362-78, October.
  5. Kräkel, Matthias & Sliwka, Dirk, 2006. "Should You Allow Your Agent to Become Your Competitor? On Non-Compete Agreements in Employment Contracts," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 99, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  6. Hvide, Hans K. & Kristiansen, Eirik Gaard, 2012. "Management of Knowledge Workers," IZA Discussion Papers 6609, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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