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A Theory of Supervision with Endogenous Transaction Costs

  • Faure-Grimaud, Antoine
  • Laffont, Jean-Jacques
  • Martimort, David

We propose a theory of supervision with endogenous transaction costs. A principle delegates part of his authority to a supervisor who can acquire soft information about an agent's productivity. If the supervisor were risk-neutral, the principal would simply make the better informed supervisor residual claimant for the hieracrchy's profit. Under risk aversion, the optimal contract trades-off the supervisor's incentives to reveal his information with an insurance motive. This contract can be identified with the one obtained in a simple hard information model of hierarchical collusion with exogenous transaction costs. Now, transaction costs are endogenous and depend on the collusion stake, the accuracy of the supervisory technology and the supervisor's degree of risk-aversion. We then discuss various implications of the model for the design and management of organizations.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1967.

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Date of creation: Sep 1998
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1967
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  1. Jean-Jacques Laffont & David Martimort, 1997. "The Firm as a Multicontract Organization," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(2), pages 201-234, 06.
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  3. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Hierarchies and Bureaucracies: On the Role of Collusion in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 181-214, Fall.
  4. Sanford J Grossman & Oliver D Hart, 2001. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391749000000000339, David K. Levine.
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  6. Cremer, Jacques & McLean, Richard P, 1988. "Full Extraction of the Surplus in Bayesian and Dominant Strategy Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1247-57, November.
  7. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Scholarly Articles 4554125, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Jean-Jacques Laffont & David Martimort, 2000. "Mechanism Design with Collusion and Correlation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 309-342, March.
  10. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 1997. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 833-860, July.
  11. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1994. "Human Relations in the Workplace," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 684-717, August.
  12. Kofman, Fred & Lawarree, Jacques, 1993. "Collusion in Hierarchical Agency," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 629-56, May.
  13. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1995. "Organizational Diseconomies of Scale," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 399-426, Fall.
  14. Itoh Hideshi, 1993. "Coalitions, Incentives, and Risk Sharing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 410-427, August.
  15. Galambos, Louis, 1995. "The Authority and Responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer: Shifting Patterns in Large US Enterprises in the Twentieth Century," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 187-203.
  16. Jean-Jacques Laffont & David Martimort, 1997. "Collusion under Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 875-912, July.
  17. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1990. "Analysis of Hidden Gaming in a Three-Level Hierarchy," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 301-24, Fall.
  18. Robert, Jacques, 1991. "Continuity in auction design," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 169-179, October.
  19. Martimort, David, 1999. "The Life Cycle of Regulatory Agencies: Dynamic Capture and Transaction Costs," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(4), pages 929-47, October.
  20. Prendergast, Canice & Topel, Robert H, 1996. "Favoritism in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 958-78, October.
  21. Qian, Yingyi, 1994. "Incentives and Loss of Control in an Optimal Hierarchy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 527-44, July.
  22. Calvo, Guillermo A & Wellisz, Stanislaw, 1979. "Hierarchy, Ability, and Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 991-1010, October.
  23. 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.
  24. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Meleu, Methieu, 1997. " Reciprocal Supervision, Collusion and Organizational Design," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(4), pages 519-40, December.
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