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Principal and Expert Agent

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  • James Malcomson

Abstract

This paper analyses principal-agent contracts when the agent`s action generates information not directly verifiable but used by the agent to make a risky decision. It considers a more general formulation than those studied previously, focusing on the impact on the decision made and the contract between principal and agent. It establishes a precise sense in which distorting decisions reduces the risk borne by a risk-averse agent and conditions under which implementing an optimal decision rule imposes no substantive restrictions on the contract. The paper also uses an application to bidding to supply a good or service to illustrate those results and derive additional ones. A risk-neutral agent with limited liability may optimally choose lower, less risky bids or higher, more risky bids, according to which relaxes the limited liability constraint. There are also natural conditions under which optimal contracts are monotone, possibly with flat sections, like stock option rewards.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper193.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 193.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2004
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:193

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Related research

Keywords: Principal-Agent Contracts; Project Selection; Optimal Bidding; Portfolio Selection; Limited Liability; Risk Aversion; Asymmetric Information.;

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References

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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," IDEI Working Papers 37, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. Oliver Hart & Bengt Holmstrom, 1986. "The Theory of Contracts," Working papers 418, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Cremer, J. & Khalil, F & Rochet, J.-C., 1996. "Strategic Information Gathering Before a Contract is Offered," Papers 976.425, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  4. Cremer, J. & Khalil, F. & Rochet, J-C., 1997. "Contracts and Productive Information Gathering," Papers 97.468, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  5. Cremer, J. & Khalil, F., 1991. "Gathering Information Before Signing a Contract," Working Papers 91-16, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  6. Dezsö SZALAY, 2004. "Contracts with Endogenous Information," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 04.05, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  7. Lewis, Tracy R & Sappington, David E M, 1997. "Information Management in Incentive Problems," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 796-821, August.
  8. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "The First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1357-67, November.
  9. Feess, Eberhard & Walzl, Markus, 2004. "Delegated expertise--when are good projects bad news?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 77-82, January.
  10. Palomino, Frederic & Prat, Andrea, 2003. " Risk Taking and Optimal Contracts for Money Managers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(1), pages 113-37, Spring.
  11. Innes, Robert D., 1990. "Limited liability and incentive contracting with ex-ante action choices," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 45-67, October.
  12. Jewitt, Ian, 1988. "Justifying the First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1177-90, September.
  13. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
  14. Gromb, Denis & Martimort, David, 2004. "The Organization of Delegated Expertise," IDEI Working Papers 284, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  15. Barron, John M. & Waddell, Glen R., 2003. "Executive rank, pay and project selection," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 305-349, February.
  16. Mirrlees, J A, 1999. "The Theory of Moral Hazard and Unobservable Behaviour: Part I," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 3-21, January.
  17. Bruno Biais & Catherine Casamatta, 1999. "Optimal Leverage and Aggregate Investment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1291-1323, 08.
  18. Osband, Kent, 1989. "Optimal Forecasting Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1091-1112, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Gromb, Denis & Martimort, David, 2004. "The Organization of Delegated Expertise," IDEI Working Papers 284, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. Florian Heider & Roman Inderst, 2012. "Loan Prospecting," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(8), pages 2381-2415.
  3. Shin, Dongsoo, 2008. "Information acquisition and optimal project management," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 1032-1043, July.
  4. Engert, Andreas & Goldlücke, Susanne, 2013. "Why agents need discretion: The business judgment rule as optimal standard of care," Working Papers 13-04, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
  5. Dezsö SZALAY, 2004. "Contracts with Endogenous Information," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 04.05, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  6. Lanzi, Thomas & Bien, Franck, 2005. "Un contrat pour de l’information," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/5963, Paris Dauphine University.
  7. Inderst, Roman & Pfeil, Sebastian, 2010. "Securitization and Compensation in Financial Institutions," CEPR Discussion Papers 8089, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Marcoul, Philippe, 2003. "A Theory of Advice Based on Information Search Incentives," Staff General Research Papers 10357, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.

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