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Bertrand and Walras equilibria under moral hazard

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  • Alberto Bennardo

    ()
    (CSEF, University of Salerno, and University of California at Los Angeles)

  • P.A. Chiappori

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

We consider a simple model of competition under moral hazard with constant return technologies. We consider preferences that are not separable in effort: marginal utility of income is assumed to increase with leisure, especially for high income levels. We show that, in this context, Bertrand competition may result in positive equilibrium profit. This result holds for purely idiosyncratic shocks when only deterministic contracts are considered, and extends to unrestricted contract spaces in the presence of aggregate uncertainty. Finally, these findings have important consequences upon the definition of an equilibrium. We show that, in this context, a Walrasian general equilibrium a la Prescott-Townsend may fail to exist: any 'equilibrium' must involve rationing.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 87.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2002
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Political Economy, 2003, vol. 104, pages 785-817
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:87

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  1. Arnott, R. & Stiglitz, J., 1994. "Price Equilibrium, Efficiency, and Decentralizability in Insurance Markets with Moral Hazard," Papers 05, Laval - Laboratoire Econometrie.
  2. Alberto Bisin & Danilo Guaitoli, 2004. "Moral Hazard and Nonexclusive Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(2), pages 306-328, Summer.
  3. W. Bentley MacLeod & James M. Malcomson, 1986. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Working Papers 585, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  4. Prescott, Edward C & Townsend, Robert M, 1984. "Pareto Optima and Competitive Equilibria with Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 21-45, January.
  5. Gale, Douglas, 1996. "Equilibria and Pareto Optima of Markets with Adverse Selection," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 207-35, February.
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  7. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  8. Richard Arnott & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1988. "Randomization with Asymmetric Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 344-362, Autumn.
  9. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  10. Helpman, Elhanan & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1975. "On moral hazard in general equilibrium theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 8-23, February.
  11. Arnott, Richard J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1988. " The Basic Analytics of Moral Hazard," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 90(3), pages 383-413.
  12. Malcomson, James M, 1984. "Work Incentives, Hierarchy, and Internal Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 486-507, June.
  13. Bester, Helmut, 1985. "Screening vs. Rationing in Credit Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 850-55, September.
  14. Dreze, Jacques H, 1975. "Existence of an Exchange Equilibrium under Price Rigidities," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 16(2), pages 301-20, June.
  15. Edward Simpson Prescott & Robert M. Townsend, 1996. "Theory of the firm: applied mechanism design," Working Paper 96-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  16. 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.
  17. 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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