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Endogenous Information Structures in Conservation Contracting

  • Goeschl, Timo

    (U of Wisconsin)

  • Lin, Tun

    (U of Cambridge)

Landowners are commonly not only better informed about their private cost of conservation than conservation agencies, but also frequently in a position to spend resources on improving their knowledge about contract-relevant parameters before signing a contract on offer. We extend and generalize the literature on conservation contracting by endogenizing the information structure in a setting where the conservation agency is both asymmetrically informed about the efficiency of the landowner and unable to observe whether the landowner collects information after being offered the contract and before signing it. In this setting, we study the optimal contract the conservation agency should offer to the landowner conditional on the cost of information collection. This contract needs to balance moral hazard and adverse selection problems since by encouraging a landowner to collect information, the conservation agency simultaneously increases the landowner's incentive to misreport his 'type'. We term this the 'information rent effect'. Due to its presence, the terms of conservation contracts have to be significantly altered relative to a contract offered based on exogenous information structure or a contract based purely on information collection.

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Paper provided by University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics in its series Staff Paper Series with number 479.

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Date of creation: Oct 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecl:wisagr:479
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  1. Khalil, F & Rochet, J-C, 1997. "Contracts and Productive Information Gathering," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 97-16, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  2. Smith, Rodney B. W. & Shogren, Jason F., 2002. "Voluntary Incentive Design for Endangered Species Protection," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 169-187, March.
  3. Polasky, Stephen & Doremus, Holly, 1998. "When the Truth Hurts: Endangered Species Policy on Private Land with Imperfect Information," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 22-47, January.
  4. Crémer, Jacques & Khalil, Fahad & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1996. "Strategic Information Gathering Before a Contract Is Offered," IDEI Working Papers 61, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  5. Cremer, J. & Khalil, F., 1991. "Gathering Information Before Signing a Contract," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 91-16, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  6. Groves, Theodore, 1973. "Incentives in Teams," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 617-31, July.
  7. Andrew Moxey & Ben White & Adam Ozanne, 1999. "Efficient Contract Design for Agri-Environment Policy," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 187-202.
  8. Lewis, Tracy R & Sappington, David E M, 1997. "Information Management in Incentive Problems," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 796-821, August.
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