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Optimally Empty Promises and Endogenous Supervision

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We study optimal contracting in team settings, featuring stylized aspects of production environments with complex tasks. Agents have many opportunities to shirk, task-level monitoring is needed to provide useful incentives, and because it is difficult to write individual performance into formal contracts, incentives are provided informally, using wasteful sanctions like guilt and shame, or slowed promotion. These features give rise to optimal contracts with "empty promises" and endogenous supervision structures. Agents optimally make more promises than they intend to keep, leading to the concentration of supervisory responsibility in the hands of one or two agents.

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  • David A. Miller & Kareen Rozen, 2011. "Optimally Empty Promises and Endogenous Supervision," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1823, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jun 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1823
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    1. Contracts with empty promises
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-10-27 19:04:00

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    1. Daniel Monte & Maher Said, 2014. "The value of (bounded) memory in a changing world," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 56(1), pages 59-82, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Partnership; Teams; Moral hazard; Monitoring; Supervision; Informal sanctions;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law

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