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On the moral hazard problem without the first-order approach


  • Kadan, Ohad
  • Swinkels, Jeroen M.


We study the moral hazard problem without the first-order approach or other common structure. We present sufficient conditions under which the shadow value of simultaneously tightening the minimum payment and individual rationality constraints has a simple and intuitive expression. We then show how this expression can be used to perform comparative statics exercises in which we study (i) the effect of a change in the agentʼs wealth on the well-being of the principal; and (ii) the effects of the outside option and minimum payment on the effort level optimally implemented.

Suggested Citation

  • Kadan, Ohad & Swinkels, Jeroen M., 2013. "On the moral hazard problem without the first-order approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(6), pages 2313-2343.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:148:y:2013:i:6:p:2313-2343 DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2013.08.001

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "The First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1357-1367, November.
    2. Jewitt, Ian, 1988. "Justifying the First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1177-1190, September.
    3. Thiele, Henrik & Wambach, Achim, 1999. "Wealth Effects in the Principal Agent Model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 89(2), pages 247-260, December.
    4. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    5. Jewitt, Ian & Kadan, Ohad & Swinkels, Jeroen M., 2008. "Moral hazard with bounded payments," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 59-82, November.
    6. James A. Mirrlees, 1976. "The Optimal Structure of Incentives and Authority Within an Organization," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 7(1), pages 105-131, Spring.
    7. Paul R. Milgrom & Robert J. Weber, 1985. "Distributional Strategies for Games with Incomplete Information," Mathematics of Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 10(4), pages 619-632, November.
    8. J. A. Mirrlees, 1999. "The Theory of Moral Hazard and Unobservable Behaviour: Part I," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 3-21.
    9. Sinclair-Desgagne, Bernard, 1994. "The First-Order Approach to Multi-signal Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 459-466, March.
    10. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
    11. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-328, March.
    12. John R. Conlon, 2009. "Two New Conditions Supporting the First-Order Approach to Multisignal Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(1), pages 249-278, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chade, Hector & Vera de Serio, Virginia N., 2014. "Wealth effects and agency costs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 1-11.
    2. Ewerhart, Christian, 2016. "An envelope approach to tournament design," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 1-9.
    3. Kvaløy, Ola & Olsen, Trond E., 2016. "Teams in Relational Contracts," Discussion Papers 2016/23, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    4. Kirkegaard, René, 2017. "Moral hazard and the spanning condition without the first-order approach," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 373-387.

    More about this item


    Principal–agent; Moral hazard; First-order approach;

    JEL classification:

    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law


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