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Asymmetric Awareness and Moral Hazard

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  • Sarah Auster

Abstract

This paper introduces asymmetric awareness into the classical principal-agent model and discusses the optimal contract between a fully aware principal and an unaware agent. The principal enlarges the agent's awareness strategically when proposing the contract. He faces a trade-off between participation and incentives. Leaving the agent unaware allows him to exploit the agent's incomplete understanding of the world. Making the agent aware enables the principal to use the revealed contingencies as signals about the agent's action choice. The optimal contract reveals contingencies that have low probability but are highly informative about the agent's effort.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarah Auster, 2012. "Asymmetric Awareness and Moral Hazard," Economics Working Papers ECO2012/23, European University Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2012/23
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    File URL: http://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/24274/ECO_2012_23.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. de la Rosa, Leonidas Enrique, 2011. "Overconfidence and moral hazard," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 429-451.
    5. Kim-Sau Chung & Oliver Board, 2007. "Object-Based Unawareness," Working Papers 2007-2, University of Minnesota, Department of Economics, revised 24 Aug 2007.
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    7. Li, Jing, 2009. "Information structures with unawareness," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 977-993, May.
    8. Heifetz, Aviad & Meier, Martin & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2008. "A canonical model for interactive unawareness," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 304-324, January.
    9. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2018. "Shrouded attributes, consumer myopia and information suppression in competitive markets," Chapters,in: Handbook of Behavioral Industrial Organization, chapter 3, pages 40-74 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ernst-Ludwig Thadden & Xiaojian Zhao, 2014. "Multi-task agency with unawareness," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 77(2), pages 197-222, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unawareness; Moral Hazard; Incomplete Contracts;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law

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