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Optimal Incentive Contracts under Moral Hazard When the Agent is Free to Leave

  • Englmaier, Florian
  • Muehlheusser, Gerd
  • Roider, Andreas

We characterize optimal incentive contracts in a moral hazard framework extended in two directions. First, after effort provision, the agent is free to leave and pursue some ex-post outside option. Second, the value of this outside option is increasing in effort, and hence endogenous. Optimal contracts may entail properties such as inducing first-best effort and surplus, or non-responsiveness with respect to changes in verifiable parameters. Moreover, while always socially inefficient, separation might occur in equilibrium. Except for the latter, these findings are robust to renegotiation. When the outside option is exogenous instead, the standard results obtain.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7914.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7914
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  1. Rasul, Imran & Sonderegger, Silvia, 2010. "The role of the agent's outside options in principal-agent relationships," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 781-788, March.
  2. Hans K. Hvide & Eirik Gaard Kristiansen, 2012. "Management of Knowledge Workers," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(4), pages 815 - 838.
  3. Kräkel, Matthias & Sliwka, Dirk, 2006. "Should You Allow Your Agent to Become Your Competitor? On Non-Compete Agreements in Employment Contracts," IZA Discussion Papers 2054, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. O'Flaherty, Brendan & Siow, Aloysius, 1995. "Up-or-Out Rules in the Market for Lawyers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 709-35, October.
  5. Nick Netzer & Florian Scheuer, 2010. "Competitive Markets without Commitment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1079 - 1109.
  6. Anton, James J & Yao, Dennis A, 1995. "Start-ups, Spin-offs, and Internal Projects," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 362-78, October.
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