IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Overconfidence and moral hazard

  • de la Rosa, Leonidas Enrique

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Games and Economic Behavior.

Volume (Year): 73 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 429-451

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:73:y:2011:i:2:p:429-451
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Hanming Fang & Giuseppe Moscarini, 2004. "Morale Hazard," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm386, Yale School of Management.
  2. Gervais, Simon & Odean, Terrance, 2001. "Learning to be Overconfident," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(1), pages 1-27.
  3. Morris, Stephen, 1995. "The Common Prior Assumption in Economic Theory," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(02), pages 227-253, October.
  4. Bertrand Villeneuve, 2000. "The Consequences for a Monopolistic Insurance Firm of Evaluating Risk Better than Customers: The Adverse Selection Hypothesis Reversed," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 25(1), pages 65-79, June.
  5. Ulrike Malmendier & Geoffrey Tate, 2004. "CEO Overconfidence and Corporate Investment," NBER Working Papers 10807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Van den Steen, Eric, 2005. "Too Motivated?," Working papers 18180, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  7. Matthew Rabin, 2006. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1133-1165, November.
  8. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence And Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915, August.
  9. Dan Lovallo & Colin Camerer, 1999. "Overconfidence and Excess Entry: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 306-318, March.
  10. Santos-Pinto, Luís, 2003. "Positive self-image in tournaments," MPRA Paper 3140, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 27 Feb 2007.
  11. Murphy, Kevin J., 1999. "Executive compensation," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 2485-2563 Elsevier.
  12. Kostas Koufopoulos, 2002. "Asymmetric Information, Heterogeneity in Risk Perceptions and Insurance: An Explanation to a Puzzle," FMG Discussion Papers dp402, Financial Markets Group.
  13. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-19, June.
  14. Smith, Clifford Jr. & Watts, Ross L., 1992. "The investment opportunity set and corporate financing, dividend, and compensation policies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 263-292, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:73:y:2011:i:2:p:429-451. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.