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Principal and Expert Agent

  • Malcomson James M


    (University of Oxford)

This paper analyses principal-agent contracts when the risk-averse agent's action generates information that is not directly verifiable but is used to make a risky decision in a formulation more general than previously studied. It focuses on the impact on the decision made and the contract used, establishing a necessary and sufficient condition for the principal to gain by distorting decisions away from what is efficient and conditions under which there is no conflict between incentives to make decisions and to take action. Applications to investing in a risky project and bidding to supply a good or service illustrate those results.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 9 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 1-36

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejtec:v:9:y:2009:i:1:n:17
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  1. Cremer, Jacques & Khalil, Fahad & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1998. "Contracts and Productive Information Gathering," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 174-193, November.
  2. Cremer, Jacques & Khalil, Fahad & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1998. "Strategic Information Gathering before a Contract Is Offered," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 163-200, July.
  3. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "The First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1357-67, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," IDEI Working Papers 37, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  6. Feess, Eberhard & Walzl, Markus, 2004. "Delegated expertise--when are good projects bad news?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 77-82, January.
  7. Palomino, Frédéric & Prat, Andrea, 1999. "Risk Taking and Optimal Contracts for Money Managers," CEPR Discussion Papers 2066, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Bruno Biais & Catherine Casamatta, 1999. "Optimal Leverage and Aggregate Investment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1291-1323, 08.
  9. 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.
  10. Oliver Hart & Bengt Holmstrom, 1986. "The Theory of Contracts," Working papers 418, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Cremer, J. & Khalil, F., 1991. "Gathering Information Before Signing a Contract," Working Papers 91-16, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. Jewitt, Ian, 1988. "Justifying the First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1177-90, September.
  14. Osband, Kent, 1989. "Optimal Forecasting Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1091-1112, October.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
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