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A Theory of Threshold Contracts

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Abstract

We consider an in nitely repeated reappointment game in a principal- agent relationship. Typical examples are voter-politician or government- public servant relationships. The agent chooses costly effort and enjoys being in office until he is deselected. The principal observes a noisy signal of the agent's effort and decides whether to reappoint the agent or not. We analyse the stationary Markovian equilibria of this game and examine the consequences of threshold contracts, which forbid reappointment if the principal's utility is too low. We identify the circumstances under which such threshold contracts are welfare-improving or beneficial for the principal.

Suggested Citation

  • Johannes Gerd Becker & Hans Gersbach, 2013. "A Theory of Threshold Contracts," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 13/182, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:13-182
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 2005. "Contract Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262025760, January.
    2. Hans Gersbach & Verena Liessem, 2008. "Reelection threshold contracts in politics," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 31(2), pages 233-255, August.
    3. Gersbach Hans, 2012. "Contractual Democracy," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(3), pages 823-851, December.
    4. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
    5. Richard Bellman, 1957. "On a Dynamic Programming Approach to the Caterer Problem--I," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 3(3), pages 270-278, April.
    6. Daniel F. Garrett & Alessandro Pavan, 2012. "Managerial Turnover in a Changing World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(5), pages 879-925.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    principal-agent model; repeated game; reappointment; stationary Markovian strategies; threshold strategies; threshold contracts; asymmetric information; commitment.;

    JEL classification:

    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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