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Dynamic Incentive Contracts under Parameter Uncertainty

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  • Jovanovic, Boyan
  • Prat, Julien

Abstract

We analyze a long-term contracting problem involving common uncertainty about a parameter capturing the productivity of the relationship, and featuring a hidden action for the agent. We develop an approach that works for any utility function when the parameter and noise are normally distributed and when the effort and noise affect output additively. We then analytically solve for the optimal contract when the agent has exponential utility. We find that the Pareto frontier shifts out as information about the agent's quality improves. In the standard spot-market setup, by contrast, when the parameter measures the agent's 'quality', the Pareto frontier shifts inwards with better information. Commitment is therefore more valuable when quality is known more precisely. Incentives then are easier to provide because the agent has less room to manipulate the beliefs of the principal. Moreover, in contrast to results under one-period commitment, wage volatility declines as experience accumulates.

Suggested Citation

  • Jovanovic, Boyan & Prat, Julien, 2010. "Dynamic Incentive Contracts under Parameter Uncertainty," CEPR Discussion Papers 8136, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8136
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Keiichi Hori & Hiroshi Osano, 2013. "Managerial Incentives and the Role of Advisors in the Continuous-Time Agency Model," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(10), pages 2620-2647.
    2. Giat, Yahel & Subramanian, Ajay, 2013. "Dynamic contracting under imperfect public information and asymmetric beliefs," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 2833-2861.
    3. Thibaut Mastrolia & Dylan Possamai, 2015. "Moral hazard under ambiguity," Papers 1511.03616, arXiv.org, revised Oct 2016.
    4. Kerem Ugurlu, 2018. "Dynamic optimal contract under parameter uncertainty with risk averse agent and principal," Papers 1806.01495, arXiv.org.
    5. Jianjun Miao & Alejandro Rivera, 2016. "Robust Contracts in Continuous Time," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 1405-1440, July.
    6. Zhiguo He & Si Li & Bin Wei & Jianfeng Yu, 2014. "Uncertainty, Risk, and Incentives: Theory and Evidence," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(1), pages 206-226, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    career; learning; optimal contract; principal-agent model; private information; reputation;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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