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Flexible contracts

Listed author(s):
  • Piero Gottardi
  • Jean Marc Tallon
  • Paolo Ghirardato

This paper studies the costs and benefits of delegating decisions to superiorly informed agents relative to the use of rigid, non discretionary contracts. The main focus of the paper lies in the analysis of the costs of delegation, primarily agency costs, versus their benefits, primarily the flexibility of the action choice. We first determine and characterize the properties of the optimal flexible contract. We then show that the higher the agent’s degree of risk aversion, the higher is the agency costs of delegation and the less profitable a flexible contract relative to a rigid one. When the parties to not have sharp probability beliefs, the agent’s degree of imprecision aversion introduces another agency cost, which again reduces the relative profitability of flexible contracts.

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File URL: http://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/18096/ECO_2011_26.pdf?sequence=1
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Paper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2011/26.

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Date of creation: 2011
Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2011/26
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  1. Gajdos, T. & Hayashi, T. & Tallon, J.-M. & Vergnaud, J.-C., 2008. "Attitude toward imprecise information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 27-65, May.
  2. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Armstrong, Mark & Vickers, John, 2008. "A model of delegated project choice," MPRA Paper 8963, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Peter Klibanoff & Massimo Marinacci & Sujoy Mukerji, 2005. "A Smooth Model of Decision Making under Ambiguity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1849-1892, November.
  5. Strzalecki, Tomasz & Werner, Jan, 2011. "Efficient allocations under ambiguity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(3), pages 1173-1194, May.
  6. Rantakari Heikki V, 2008. "On the Role of Uncertainty in the Risk-Incentives Tradeoff," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-25, April.
  7. Ian Jewitt, 1987. "Risk Aversion and the Choice Between Risky Prospects: The Preservation of Comparative Statics Results," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(1), pages 73-85.
  8. Itzhak Gilboa & David Schmeidler, 1989. "Maxmin Expected Utility with Non-Unique Prior," Post-Print hal-00753237, HAL.
  9. Ricardo Alonso & Niko Matouschek, 2008. "Optimal delegation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58665, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Michael Raith, 2008. "Specific knowledge and performance measurement," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 1059-1079.
  11. Bruno Jullien & Bernard Salanié & François Salanié, 1998. "Should More Risk-Averse Agents Exert More Effort," Working Papers 98-12, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  12. Ricardo Alonso & Niko Matouschek, 2008. "Optimal Delegation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 259-293.
  13. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00451982 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Fehr, Ernst & Hart, Oliver & Zehnder, Christian, 2008. "Contracts as Reference Points: Experimental Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 3889, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Ghirardato, Paolo & Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo, 2004. "Differentiating ambiguity and ambiguity attitude," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 133-173, October.
  16. Mukerji, Sujoy, 1998. "Ambiguity Aversion and Incompleteness of Contractual Form," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1207-1231, December.
  17. Ahn, David & Choi, Syngjoo & Gale, Douglas & Kariv, Shachar, 2013. "Estimating Ambiguity Aversion in a Portfolio Choice Experiment," Working Papers 13-22, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, Weiss Center.
  18. Wouter Dessein, 2002. "Authority and Communication in Organizations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 811-838.
  19. Sujoy Mukerji & Jean-Marc Tallon, 2002. "Ambiguity Aversion and the Absence of Wage Indexation," Economics Series Working Papers 111, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  20. Kfir Eliaz & Rani Spiegler, 2005. "A Mechanism-Design Approach to Speculative Trade," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000429, UCLA Department of Economics.
  21. Ernst Fehr & Oliver Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2008. "Contracts as reference points � experimental evidence," IEW - Working Papers 393, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  22. Billot, A. & Chateauneuf, A. & Gilboa, I. & Tallon, J.-M., 1998. "Sharing Beliefs: Between Agreeing and Disagreeing," Papiers d'Economie Mathématique et Applications 98.30, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  23. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00174553 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 571-587, May.
  25. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2008. "Contracts as Reference Points," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 1-48.
  26. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
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