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Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives

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  • Holmstrom, Bengt
  • Milgrom, Paul

Abstract

The authors develop two themes in the theory of incentive schemes. First, one need not always use all of the information available in an optimal incentive contract. Accounting information, which aggregates performance over time, is sufficient for optimal compensation schemes in certain classes of environments. Second, optimal rules in a rich environment must work well in a range of circumstances and cannot, therefore, be complicated functions of the observed outcome. The authors illustrate these ideas in a particular model where the agent has a rich space of controls, showing that the unique optimal compensation scheme is a linear function of profits. Copyright 1987 by The Econometric Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-328, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:55:y:1987:i:2:p:303-28
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
    2. Paul R. Milgrom & Robert J. Weber, 1985. "Distributional Strategies for Games with Incomplete Information," Mathematics of Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 10(4), pages 619-632, November.
    3. Steven Shavell, 1979. "Risk Sharing and Incentives in the Principal and Agent Relationship," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 55-73, Spring.
    4. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
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