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Optimal Contracting in Agency with Verifiable Ex Post Information

  • Kessler, Anke
  • Lülfesmann, Christoph
  • Schmitz, Patrick W

The Paper studies a straightforward adverse selection problem in which an informative but imperfect signal on the agent’s type becomes public ex post. The agent is protected by limited liability, which rules out unboundedly high penalties. Analysing the consequences of the additional information and the corresponding extension of the space of feasible contracts, the following conclusions emerge. First, the qualitative effects of the signal can be unambiguously tied to the nature of the underlying problem (e.g., whether the agent is in a ‘buyer’ or a ‘seller’ position). Second, the joint surplus of the relationship may well fall, i.e., the distortions due to informational asymmetries can become more pronounced although more information is now available. Finally, the agent may benefit from releasing additional signals because of an associated increase in expected informational rents.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3428.

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Date of creation: Jun 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3428
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  1. Benito Arruñada & Luis Garicano & Luis Vázquez, 1999. "Contractual allocation of decision rights and incentives: The case of automobile distribution," Economics Working Papers 424, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  2. Lewis, Tracy R & Sappington, David E M, 2000. "Contracting with Wealth-Constrained Agents," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(3), pages 743-67, August.
  3. 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.
  4. Lewis, Tracy R & Sappington, David E M, 2001. "Optimal Contracting with Private Knowledge of Wealth and Ability," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 21-44, January.
  5. McAfee, R Preston & Reny, Philip J, 1992. "Correlated Information and Mechanism Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 395-421, March.
  6. Mathias Dewatripont & Eric Maskin, 1995. "Contractual contingencies and renegotiation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9609, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  7. Dominique M. Demougin & Devon A. Garvie, 1991. "Contractual Design with Correlated Information under Limited Liability," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 477-489, Winter.
  8. Fahad Khalil & Jacques Lawarree, 2000. "CATCHING THE AGENT ON THE WRONG FOOT: ex post choice of monitoring," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 0006, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  9. Jullien, Bruno, 2000. "Participation Constraints in Adverse Selection Models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 1-47, July.
  10. Nalebuff, Barry & Scharfstein, David, 1987. "Testing in Models of Asymmetric Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2), pages 265-77, April.
  11. Brander, James A & Spencer, Barbara J, 1989. "Moral Hazard and Limited Liability: Implications for the Theory of the Firm," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(4), pages 833-49, November.
  12. Riordan, Michael H. & Sappington, David E. M., 1988. "Optimal contracts with public ex post information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 189-199, June.
  13. Demougin, Dominique & Fluet, Claude, 2001. "Monitoring versus incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1741-1764, October.
  14. John G. Riley, 1986. "Ex Post Information in Auctions," UCLA Economics Working Papers 367, UCLA Department of Economics.
  15. Emons, Winand, 1989. " The Theory of Warranty Contracts," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(1), pages 43-57.
  16. Nahum D. Melumad & Dilip Mookherjee, 1989. "Delegation as Commitment: The Case of Income Tax Audits," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(2), pages 139-163, Summer.
  17. Border, Kim C & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Samurai Accountant: A Theory of Auditing and Plunder," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 525-40, October.
  18. Kofman, F. & Lawarree, J., 1990. "Collusion in Hierarchical Agency," Working Papers 91-01, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  19. Lewis, Tracy R. & Sappington, David E. M., 1989. "Countervailing incentives in agency problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 294-313, December.
  20. Lafontaine, Francine & Slade, Margaret E., 1996. "Retail contracting and costly monitoring: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 923-932, April.
  21. Sappington, David, 1983. "Limited liability contracts between principal and agent," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-21, February.
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