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Optimal contracts in a dynamic costly state verification model

  • Monnet, Cyril
  • Quintin, Erwan

This paper describes optimal contracts in a dynamic costly state verification model with stochastic monitoring. An agent operates a risky project on behalf of a principal over several periods. Each period, the principal can observe the revenues from the project provided he incurs a fixed cost. We show that an optimal contract exists with the property that, in each period and for every possible revenue announcement by the agent, either the principal claims he entire proceeds from the project or promises to claim nothing in the future. This structure of payments enables the principal to minimize audit costs over the duration of the project. Those optimal contracts are such that the agent's expected income rises with time. Moreover, except in at most one period, the principal claims the entire returns of the project whenever audit occurs. We also provide conditions under which all optimal contracts must satisfy hese properties JEL Classification: D8, C7

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0126.

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Date of creation: Feb 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20020126
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  1. Smith, Bruce D. & Wang, Cheng, 1998. "Repeated Insurance Relationships in a Costly State Verification Model: With an Application to Deposit Insurance," Staff General Research Papers 5194, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Townsend, Robert M., 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 265-293, October.
  3. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, Ivan, 1989. "Optimal Auditing, Insurance, and Redistribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 399-415, May.
  4. Stephen D. Williamson, 1984. "Costly Monitoring, Loan Contracts and Equilibrium Credit Rationing," Working Papers 572, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  5. Thomas Cooley & Ramon Marimon & Vicenzo Quadrini, 1999. "Aggregate consequences of limited contract enforceability," Economics Working Papers 843, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2003.
  6. Spear, Stephen E & Srivastava, Sanjay, 1987. "On Repeated Moral Hazard with Discounting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 599-617, October.
  7. Albuquerque, R. & Hopenhayn, H.A., 1997. "Optimal Dynamic Lending Contracts with Imperfect Enforceability," RCER Working Papers 439, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  8. Chang, Chun, 1990. "The dynamic structure of optimal debt contracts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 68-86, October.
  9. 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.
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