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Information Control in the Principal-Agent Problem

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  • Sobel, Joel

Abstract

This paper compares the principal's payoff in agency models under different assumptions about the agent's access to information. The agent may make decisions before (is uninformed) or after (is informed) learning the state of nature. When there are two possible outcomes, the principal typically prefers informed to uninformed agents, whether the agent receives the information before or after contracting. This result is false when there are more than two outcomes. Conditions under which a principal prefers one agent to another, when the agents differ only in their disutility of effort, are also given. Copyright 1993 by Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Sobel, Joel, 1993. "Information Control in the Principal-Agent Problem," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(2), pages 259-269, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:34:y:1993:i:2:p:259-69
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Iossa, Elisabetta & Martimort, David, 2015. "Pessimistic information gathering," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 75-96.
    2. Shin, Dongsoo, 2008. "Information acquisition and optimal project management," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 1032-1043, July.
    3. Chade, Hector & Silvers, Randy, 2002. "Informed principal, moral hazard, and the value of a more informative technology," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 291-300, February.
    4. Silvers, Randy, 2012. "The value of information in a principal–agent model with moral hazard: The ex post contracting case," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 352-365.
    5. Ed Nosal, 2006. "Information Gathering By A Principal," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1093-1111, November.
    6. Cremer, Jacques & Khalil, Fahad & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1998. "Contracts and Productive Information Gathering," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, pages 174-193.
    7. Juan-José Ganuza, 2003. "Ignorance Promotes Competition: an Auction Model with Endogenous Private Valuations," Working Papers 107, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    8. Iossa, Elisabetta & Martimort, David, 2015. "Pessimistic information gathering," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 75-96.
    9. Manuel Willington, 2004. "Pre-Contractual Information Acquisition," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv154, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
    10. Conlin, Michael & Orsini, Joe & Tang, Meng-Chi, 2013. "The effect of an agent’s expertise on National Football League contract structure," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 275-281.
    11. Bergemann, Dirk & Pesendorfer, Martin, 2007. "Information structures in optimal auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 580-609, November.
    12. Cremer, Jacques & Khalil, Fahad & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1998. "Strategic Information Gathering before a Contract Is Offered," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, pages 163-200.
    13. Marino, Anthony M., 2014. "Transparency in agency: The constant elasticity case and extensions," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 9-21.
    14. Iossa, Elisabetta & Stroffolini, Francesca, 2002. "Price cap regulation and information acquisition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(7), pages 1013-1036, September.
    15. Justin P. Johnson & David P. Myatt, 2006. "On the Simple Economics of Advertising, Marketing, and Product Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 756-784, June.
    16. Iossa, Elisabetta & Legros, Patrick, 2001. "Third Party Monitoring and Golden Parachutes," CEPR Discussion Papers 2777, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Hagedorn, Marcus, 2009. "The value of information for auctioneers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(5), pages 2197-2208, September.
    18. Finkle Aaron & Shin Dongsoo, 2010. "Disregarding the Attorney's Advice: An Agency Perspective," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 197-217, September.

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