Noisy observation in adverse selection models
We consider a principal-agent contracting problem under incomplete information where some of the agent's actions are imperfectly observable. Contracts take the form of reward schedules based on the noisy observation of the agent's action. We first review situations where the principal can reach the same utility as in the absence of noise. Then we focus on the use of linear reward schedules, which allow universal implementation, i.e. implementation of a given mechanism for any unbiased noise of observation, and on quadratic reward schedules, which only require the knowledge of the variance of the noise. We exhibit sufficient conditions under which linear reward schedules implement a given mechanism. Finally, we characterize necessary conditions for a mechanism to be implementable under noisy observation by a linear schedule, and by quadratic schedules. We give the geometric intuition behind all results.
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