Describability and agency problems
This paper suggests a reason, other than asymmetric information, why agency contracts are not explicitly contingent on the agent's performance or actions. Two ingredients are essential to this reason. The first is the written form that contracts are required to take to be enforceable. The second is a form of discontinuity in the parties' preferences and in the technology that transforms actions into a (probabilistic) outcome. We show that under these conditions the chosen contract may not be explicitly contigent on the agent's action although, in principle, such actions are contractible and observable to all parties to the contract, court included.
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References listed on IDEAS
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- Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990.
"Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm,"
3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Hardman Moore, John & Hart, Oliver, 1985.
"Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
60, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Matthews, Steven A, 1995.
"Renegotiation of Sales Contracts,"
Econometric Society, vol. 63(3), pages 567-89, May.
- Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986.
"The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration,"
3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
- Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 70, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Anderlini, Luca & Felli, Leonardo, 1994.
"Incomplete Written Contracts: Undescribable States of Nature,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1085-1124, November.
- Anderlini, L. & Felli, L., 1993. "Incomplete Written Contracts: Undescribable States of Nature," Papers 183, Cambridge - Risk, Information & Quantity Signals.
- Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983.
"An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem,"
Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
- Sanford J Grossman & Oliver D Hart, 2001. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391749000000000339, David K. Levine.
- 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.
- repec:cep:stitep:/1993/267 is not listed on IDEAS
- Anderlini, L. & Felli, L., 1995. "Endogenous Agency Problems," Papers 200, Cambridge - Risk, Information & Quantity Signals.
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