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Task Assignment under Agent Loss Aversion

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  • Kohei Daido

    ()
    (School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University)

  • Kimiyuki Morita

    ()
    (Graduate School of Commerce and Management, Hitotsubashi University)

  • Takeshi Murooka

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of California-Berkeley)

  • Hiromasa Ogawa

    ()
    (Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo)

Abstract

We analyze a simple task-assignment model in which a principal assigns a task to one of two agents depending on the state. If the agents have standard concave utility, the principal assigns the task to an agent with the highest productivity in each state. In contrast, if the agents are loss averse, in order to alleviate their expected losses the principal may assign the task to a single agent in all states. Furthermore, the optimal contract may specify the same effort level across states. Our results imply that such simple contracts can be optimal even when employers can write contingent contracts at no cost.

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File Function: First version, 2013
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University in its series Discussion Paper Series with number 103.

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Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision: Mar 2013
Handle: RePEc:kgu:wpaper:103

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Keywords: task assignment; loss aversion; reference-dependent preferences;

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  1. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  2. Herweg, Fabian, 2010. "Uncertain Demand, Consumer Loss Aversion, and Flat-Rate Tariffs," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 330, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  3. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2008. "Contracts as Reference Points," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(1), pages 1-48, 02.
  4. Matthew Rabin, 2006. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1133-1165, November.
  5. Kohei Daido & Hideshi Itoh, 2007. "The Pygmalion and Galatea Effects: An Agency Model with Reference-Dependent Preferences and Applications to Self-Fulfilling Prophecy," Discussion Paper Series 35, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised Sep 2007.
  6. Ernst Fehr & Oliver D. Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2008. "Contracts as Reference Points - Experimental Evidence," NBER Working Papers 14501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2006. "Reference-Dependent Risk Attitudes," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001267, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Jean Tirole, 2009. "Cognition and Incomplete Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 265-94, March.
  9. Heidhues, Paul & Köszegi, Botond, 2005. "The Impact of Consumer Loss Aversion on Pricing," CEPR Discussion Papers 4849, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Botond Kőszegi & Paul Heidhues, 2008. "Competition and Price Variation When Consumers Are Loss Averse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1245-68, September.
  11. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
  12. Herweg, Fabian & Mierendorff, Konrad, 2013. "Uncertain Demand, Consumer Loss Aversion, and Flat-Rate Tariffs," Munich Reprints in Economics 19420, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  13. Fabian Herweg & Daniel Muller & Philipp Weinschenk, 2010. "Binary Payment Schemes: Moral Hazard and Loss Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2451-77, December.
  14. Mukerji, S., 1997. "Ambiguity aversion and incompleteness of contractual form," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9715, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  15. Gill, David & Stone, Rebecca, 2010. "Fairness and Desert in Tournaments," MPRA Paper 21322, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Herweg, Fabian & Müller, Daniel & Weinschenk, Philipp, 2010. "Binary payment schemes: Moral hazard and loss aversion," Munich Reprints in Economics 19450, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  17. Fabian Herweg & Klaus Schmidt, 2012. "Loss Aversion and Ex Post Inefficient Renegotiation," CESifo Working Paper Series 4031, CESifo Group Munich.
  18. Kohei Daido & Takeshi Murooka, 2011. "Team Incentives and Reference-Dependent Preferences," Discussion Paper Series 70, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised May 2011.
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