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A note on the dynamics of incentive contracts

  • Ching-jen Sun


Laffont and Tirole [3] show that when the uncertainty about the agent's ability is small, the equilibrium must involve a large amount of pooling, but it is not necessary to be a partition equilibrium. They construct a nonpartition continuation equilibrium for a given first-period menu of contracts and conjecture that this continuation equilibrium need not be suboptimal for the whole game under small uncertainty. We show that, irrespective of the amount of uncertainty, this nonpartition continuation equilibrium generates a smaller payoff for the principal than a different menu of contracts with a partition continuation equilibrium. In this sense, Laffont and Tirole's menu of contracts, giving rise to a nonpartition continuation equilibrium, is not optimal. An intuition behind this result is provided that may shed some light on the problem of dynamic contracting without commitment.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal International Journal of Game Theory.

Volume (Year): 40 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 645-653

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jogath:v:40:y:2011:i:3:p:645-653
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  1. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "The Dynamics of Incentive Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1153-75, September.
  2. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 614-41, June.
  3. Bester, Helmut & Strausz, Roland, 2001. "Contracting with Imperfect Commitment and the Revelation Principle: The Single Agent Case," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 1077-98, July.
  4. Caillaud, Bernard & Mezzetti, Claudio, 2004. "Equilibrium reserve prices in sequential ascending auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 78-95, July.
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