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The Value of Informativeness for Contracting

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  • Chaigneau, Pierre
  • Edmans, Alex
  • Gottlieb, Daniel

Abstract

The informativeness principle demonstrates qualitative benefits to increasing signal precision. However, it is difficult to quantify these benefits -- and compare them against the costs of precision -- since we typically cannot solve for the optimal contract and analyze how it changes with informativeness. We consider a standard agency model with risk-neutrality and limited liability, where the optimal contract is a call option. The direct effect of reducing signal volatility is a fall in the value of the option, benefiting the principal. The indirect effect is a change in the agent's effort incentives. If the original option is sufficiently out-of-the-money, the agent can only beat the strike price if he exerts effort and there is a high noise realization. Thus, a fall in volatility reduces effort incentives. As the agency problem weakens, the gains from precision fall towards zero, potentially justifying pay-for-luck.

Suggested Citation

  • Chaigneau, Pierre & Edmans, Alex & Gottlieb, Daniel, 2014. "The Value of Informativeness for Contracting," CEPR Discussion Papers 10180, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10180
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jetheo:v:173:y:2018:i:c:p:289-319 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Alex Edmans & Xavier Gabaix, 2016. "Executive Compensation: A Modern Primer," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1232-1287, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    contract theory; informativeness principle; limited liability; options; pay-for-luck; principal-agent model; relative performance evaluation;

    JEL classification:

    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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