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Exit option in hierarchical agency

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  • Kim, Doyoung
  • Lawarree, Jacques
  • Shin, Dongsoo

Abstract

We explain why organizations that limit the voice of their agents can benefit from granting them an exit option. We study a hierarchy with a principal, a productive supervisor and an agent. Communication is imperfect in that only the supervisor can communicate with the principal, while the agent has no direct voice to the principal. We show that the principal is better off if she grants the agent the option to walk away from the contract. By doing so, the principal is implicitly giving a “veto” power to the agent. This, in turn, restricts the manipulation of report by the supervisor. Thus, the exit option can be interpreted as a remedy for limits on communication. Our finding contrasts to the traditional result from the contract theory literature that the exit option reduces the principal’s welfare, while protecting the agent. Our result is robust to the case under collusion between the supervisor and the agent. We also examine the optimal size of the exit option
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Suggested Citation

  • Kim, Doyoung & Lawarree, Jacques & Shin, Dongsoo, 2004. "Exit option in hierarchical agency," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(8-9), pages 1265-1287, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:22:y:2004:i:8-9:p:1265-1287
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    Cited by:

    1. Felgenhauer, Mike & Grüner, Hans Peter, 2007. "Safety Nets Within Banks," CEPR Discussion Papers 6317, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Celik, Gorkem, 2009. "Mechanism design with collusive supervision," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 69-95, January.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • K12 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Contract Law
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure

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