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A note on the dynamics of incentive contracts


  • Sun, Ching-Jen


Laffont and Tirole [3] show that when the uncertainty about the agent's ability is small, the equilibrium must involve a large amount of pooling, but it is not necessary to be a partition equilibrium. They construct a nonpartition continuation equilibrium for a given first-period menu of contracts and conjecture that this continuation equilibrium need not be suboptimal for the whole game under small uncertainty. We show that, irrespective of the amount of uncertainty, this nonpartition continuation equilibrium generates a smaller payoff for the principal than a different menu of contracts with a partition continuation equilibrium. In this sense, Laffont and Tirole's menu of contracts, giving rise to a nonpartition continuation equilibrium, is not optimal. An intuition behind this result is provided that may shed some light on the problem of dynamic contracting without commitment.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Sun, Ching-Jen, 2008. "A note on the dynamics of incentive contracts," Economics Series eco_2008_23, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:dkn:econwp:eco_2008_23

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Using Cost Observation to Regulate Firms," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 614-641, June.
    2. Bester, Helmut & Strausz, Roland, 2001. "Contracting with Imperfect Commitment and the Revelation Principle: The Single Agent Case," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 1077-1098, July.
    3. Caillaud, Bernard & Mezzetti, Claudio, 2004. "Equilibrium reserve prices in sequential ascending auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 78-95, July.
    4. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1988. "The Dynamics of Incentive Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1153-1175, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. James M. Malcomson, 2016. "Relational Incentive Contracts With Persistent Private Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 317-346, January.
    2. Latacz-Lohmann, Uwe & Schilizzi, Steven & Breustedt, Gunnar, 2011. "Auctioning Outcome-Based Conservation Contracts," 51st Annual Conference, Halle, Germany, September 28-30, 2011 114523, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).

    More about this item


    Incentive Contracts; Dynamic Contracting; Commitment; Partition Equilib-rium; Ratchet Effect; Bunching;

    JEL classification:

    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation


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