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Overconfidence and moral hazard

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  • de la Rosa, Leonidas Enrique

Abstract

In this paper, I study the effects of overconfidence on incentive contracts in a moral-hazard framework. Agent overconfidence can have conflicting effects on the equilibrium contract. On the one hand, an optimistic or overconfident agent disproportionately values success-contingent payments, and thus prefers higher-powered incentives. On the other hand, if the agent overestimates the extent to which his actions affect outcomes, lower-powered incentives are sufficient to induce any given effort level. If the agent is moderately overconfident, the latter effect dominates. Because the agent bears less risk in this case, there are efficiency gains stemming from his overconfidence. If the agent is significantly overconfident, the former effect dominates; the agent is then exposed to an excessive amount of risk, and any gains arise only from risk-sharing under disagreement. An increase in optimism or overconfidence increases the effort level implemented in equilibrium.

Suggested Citation

  • de la Rosa, Leonidas Enrique, 2011. "Overconfidence and moral hazard," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 429-451.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:73:y:2011:i:2:p:429-451
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2011.04.001
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    Cited by:

    1. Luís Santos-Pinto, 2008. "Positive Self-image and Incentives in Organisations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(531), pages 1315-1332, August.
    2. Iossa, Elisabetta & Martimort, David, 2015. "Pessimistic information gathering," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 75-96.
    3. Sloof, Randolph & van Praag, C. Mirjam, 2010. "The effect of noise in a performance measure on work motivation: A real effort laboratory experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(5), pages 751-765, October.
    4. Anja Sautmann, 2013. "Contracts for Agents with Biased Beliefs: Some Theory and an Experiment," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 124-156, August.
    5. Hanming Fang & Zenan Wu, 2017. "Life Insurance and Life Settlement Markets with Overconfident Policyholders," NBER Working Papers 23286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Luís Santos-Pinto, 2010. "Positive Self-Image In Tournaments," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(2), pages 475-496, May.
    7. de la Rosa, Leonidas Enrique, 2011. "Overconfidence and moral hazard," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 429-451.
    8. Bhaskar, Venkataraman, 2012. "Dynamic Moral Hazard, Learning and Belief Manipulation," CEPR Discussion Papers 8948, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Iossa, Elisabetta & Martimort, David, 2015. "Pessimistic information gathering," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 75-96.
    10. Fabian Herweg & Daniel Müller, 2016. "Overconfidence in the Markets for Lemons," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 118(2), pages 354-371, April.
    11. Kim, Jaesoo, 2015. "Managerial beliefs and incentive policies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 84-95.
    12. Sarah Auster, 2011. "Asymmetric Awareness and Moral Hazard," Economics Working Papers ECO2011/, European University Institute.
    13. Jen-Wen Chang & Simpson Zhang, 2018. "Competitive Pay and Excessive Manager Risk-taking," Working Papers 18-02, Office of Financial Research, US Department of the Treasury.
    14. Gyorgy Attila, 2012. "Agency Problems In Public Sector," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(1), pages 708-712, July.
    15. Wang, Jian & Sheng, Jiliang & Yang, Jun, 2013. "Optimism bias and incentive contracts in portfolio delegation," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 493-499.
    16. Kondor, Péter & Köszegi, Botond, 2015. "Cursed financial innovation," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2015-306, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    17. Ludwig, Sandra & Wichardt, Philip C. & Wickhorst, Hanke, 2011. "On the Positive Effects of Overcon fident Self-Perception in Teams," Discussion Papers in Economics 12246, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    18. Schrand, Catherine M. & Zechman, Sarah L.C., 2012. "Executive overconfidence and the slippery slope to financial misreporting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 311-329.
    19. Auster, Sarah, 2013. "Asymmetric awareness and moral hazard," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 503-521.
    20. Philipp Weinschenk, 2010. "Moral Hazard and Ambiguity," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2010_39, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    21. FOSCHI, Matteo; SANTOS-PINTO, Luís Pedro, 2017. "Subjective Performance Evaluation of Employees with Biased Beliefs," Economics Working Papers ECO 2017/08, European University Institute.
    22. Iossa, Elisabetta & Martimort, David, 2013. "Hidden Action or Hidden Information? How Information Gathering Shapes Contract Design," CEPR Discussion Papers 9552, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    23. Sarah Auster, 2012. "Asymmetric Awareness and Moral Hazard," Economics Working Papers ECO2012/23, European University Institute.
    24. Philipp Meyer-Brauns, 2014. "Optimal Auditing with Heterogeneous Audit Perceptions," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2014-06, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.

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    Keywords

    Overconfidence; Heterogeneous beliefs; Moral Hazard;

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law

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