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Theories of behavior in principal-agent relationships with hidden action

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  • Keser, Claudia
  • Willinger, Marc

Abstract

In Keser and Willinger (IJIO, 2000) we found that many contracts offered by experimental subjects do not satisfy incentive compatibility. While the combination of incentive compatibility and a binding participation constraint would require that the agent incurs a net loss in the less favorable state for the principal, experimental subjects in the role of principals propose contracts in which the agent never risks to make a loss. We identified in the principals’ decision making three basic principles that, combined together, describe a fair offers area into which a large number of the observed contract offers falls. These principles imply that net expected surplus is more evenly allocated between the principal and the agent than agency theory predicts. The aim of the experiments presented in this paper is to test the robustness of these principles when the effort costs increase and the net expected surplus becomes smaller, and to compare their predictive success to the predictive success of agency theory under the assumption either of a risk-averse or a risk-neutral agent. The results show that the fair offers prediction describes the observed contract offers better than agency theory as long as an important net expected surplus is created. However, when the effort costs are so high that the net expected surplus is negligible, standard agency theory does better than the combination of the three principles in predicting the observed contract offers.
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  • Keser, Claudia & Willinger, Marc, 2007. "Theories of behavior in principal-agent relationships with hidden action," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 1514-1533, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:51:y:2007:i:6:p:1514-1533
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    Cited by:

    1. Hoppe, Eva I. & Kusterer, David J., 2011. "Conflicting tasks and moral hazard: Theory and experimental evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1094-1108.
    2. Murat Yildizoglu & Nicolas Carayol & Pascale Roux, 2005. "Coordination Failures in Network Formation," Post-Print hal-00160385, HAL.
    3. Estelle Dhont-Peltrault & Etienne Pfister, 2007. "R&D cooperation versus R&D subcontracting: empirical evidence from French survey data," Working Papers of BETA 2007-17, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    4. Gisèle Umbhauer, 2007. "De l’amiante au chrysotile, un glissement stratégique dans la désinformation," Working Papers of BETA 2007-15, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    5. Jalal EL OUARDIGHI & Rabija SOMUN-KAPETANOVIC, 2006. "Convergence des contributions aux inégalités de richesse dans le développement des pays européens," Working Papers of BETA 2006-19, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    6. Meixing DAI, 2007. "A two-pillar strategy to keep inflation expectations at bay: A basic theoretical framework," Working Papers of BETA 2007-20, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    7. Meixing DAI & Moïse SIDIROPOULOS & Eleftherios SPYROMITROS, 2007. "La transparence de la politique monétaire et la dynamique des marchés financiers," Working Papers of BETA 2007-19, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    8. Thomas Demuynck, 2015. "Statistical inference for measures of predictive success," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 79(4), pages 689-699, December.
    9. Hoppe, Eva I & Schmitz, Patrick W, 2015. "Hidden Action and Outcome Contractibility: An Experimental Test of Contract Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 11002, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Giovanni Dosi & Patrick Llerena & Mauro Sylos Labini, 2005. "Science-Technology-Industry Links and the ”European Paradox”: Some Notes on the Dynamics of Scientific and Technological Research in Europe," LEM Papers Series 2005/02, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    11. Ahmed Ennasri & Marc Willinger, 2011. "Managerial incentives under competitive pressure: Experimental investigation," Working Papers 11-12, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Jun 2011.
    12. Stéphane Betrand & Kene Boun My & Alban Verchère, 2005. "Faire émerger la coopération internationale : une approche expérimentale comparée du bilatéralisme et du multilatéralisme," Working Papers of BETA 2005-13, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    13. Sebastian Galiani & Cheryl Long & Camila Navajas & Gustavo Torrens, 2016. "Horizontal and Vertical Conflict: Experimental Evidence," NBER Working Papers 21857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Nicolas Carayol & Pascale Roux, 2006. "A strategic model of complex networks formation," Working Papers of BETA 2006-02, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    15. Tapas K. Mishra, 2006. "A Further Look into the Demography-based GDP Forecasting Method," Working Papers of BETA 2006-17, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    16. Li Qin & Eleftherios Spyromitros & Moïse Sidiropoulos, 2007. "Monetary Policy with Uncertain Central Bank Preferences for Robustness," Working Papers of BETA 2007-23, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    17. repec:bla:germec:v:18:y:2017:i:4:p:411-443 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Arleta Rasmußen, 2014. "The influence of face-to-face communication: a principal-agent experiment," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 22(1), pages 73-88, March.
    19. Mathias Erlei & Heike Schenk-Mathes, 2017. "Bounded Rationality in Principal-Agent Relationships," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 18(4), pages 411-443, November.
    20. repec:eee:pubeco:v:156:y:2017:i:c:p:59-72 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Rachel Levy & Paul Muller, 2006. "Do academic laboratories correspond to scientific communities? Evidence from a large European university," Working Papers of BETA 2006-15, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    22. Sofia Pessoa e Costa & Stéphane Robin, 2007. "The Impact Of Training Programmes On Wages In France: An Evaluation Of The “Qualifying Contract” Using Propensity Scores," Working Papers of BETA 2007-18, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    23. B. Brandl & U. Leopold-Wildburger & A. Mietek & S. Pickl, 2010. "How do commission rates influence a firm’s success? statistical analysis of a corporate strategy simulation experiment," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 18(4), pages 553-566, December.
    24. Claudia Keser & Gerrit Kimpel & Andreas Oestreicher, 2016. "Would a CCCTB mitigate profit shifting?," CIRANO Working Papers 2016s-29, CIRANO.
    25. Kunte, Sebastian & Wollni, Meike & Keser, Claudia, 2014. "Making it personal: breach and private ordering in a contract farming experiment," Discussion Papers 186136, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.

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