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Competitive Markets without Commitment

  • Nick Netzer
  • Florian Scheuer

In the presence of a time-inconsistency problem with optimal agency contracts, we show that competitive markets implement allocations that Pareto dominate those achieved by a benevolent planner, they induce strictly more effort, and they sometimes make the commitment problem disappear entirely. In particular, we analyze a model with moral hazard and two-sided lack of commitment. After agents have chosen a hidden effort and the need to provide incentives has vanished, firms can modify their contracts and agents can switch firms. As long as the ex-post market outcome satisfies a weak notion of competitiveness and sufficiently separates individuals who choose different effort levels, the market allocation is Pareto superior to a social planner�s allocation. We construct a specific market game that naturally generates robust equilibria with these properties. In addition, we show that equilibrium contracts without commitment are identical to those with full commitment if the latter involve no cross-subsidization between individuals who choose different effort levels.

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Paper provided by www.najecon.org in its series NajEcon Working Paper Reviews with number 814577000000000462.

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Date of creation: 22 Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cla:najeco:814577000000000462
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  1. Asheim, G.B. & Nilssen, T., 1995. "Non-Discriminating Renogociation in a Competitive Insurance Market," Memorandum 03/1995, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  2. Boadway, R. & Marceau, N. & Marchand, M., . "Investment in education and the time inconsistency of redistributive tax policy," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1219, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Dhaval Dave & Robert Kaestner, 2006. "Health Insurance and Ex Ante Moral Hazard: Evidence from Medicare," NBER Working Papers 12764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. W. Henry Chiu & Edi Karni, 1998. "Endogenous Adverse Selection and Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 806-827, August.
  5. Mathias Dewatripont, 1989. "Renegotiation and information revelation over time: the case of optimal labor contacts," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9573, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  6. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1996. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1778, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Mathias Dewatripont, 1989. "Renegotiation and Information Revelation Over Time: The Case of Optimal Labor Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 589-619.
  8. Wilson, Charles, 1977. "A model of insurance markets with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 167-207, December.
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