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Risk Sharing and Incentives in the Principal and Agent Relationship


  • Steven Shavell


This article studies arrangements concerning the payment of a fee by a principal to his agent. For such an arrangement, or fee schedule, to be Pareto optimal, it must implicitly serve to allocate the risk attaching to the outcome of the agent's activity in a satisfactory way and to create appropriate incentives for the agent in his activity. Pareto-optimal fee schedules are described in two cases: when the principal has knowledge only of the outcome of the agent's activity and when he has as well (possibly imperfect) information about the agent's activity. In each case, characteristics of Pareto-optimal fee schedules are related to the attitudes toward risk of the principal and of the agent.

Suggested Citation

  • Steven Shavell, 1979. "Risk Sharing and Incentives in the Principal and Agent Relationship," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 55-73, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:10:y:1979:i:spring:p:55-73

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Samet, Dov & Tauman, Yair, 1982. "The Determination of Marginal Cost Prices under a Set of Axioms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 895-909, July.
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