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Asymmetric Awareness and Moral Hazard

  • Sarah Auster
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    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.

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    Paper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2012/23.

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    Date of creation: 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2012/23
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    1. Ernst-Ludwig Von Thadden & Xiaojian Zhao, 2012. "Incentives for Unaware Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(3), pages 1151-1174.
    2. HEIFETZ, Aviad & MEIER, Martin & SCHIPPER, Burkhard C., 2004. "Interactive unawareness," CORE Discussion Papers 2004059, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    3. Galanis, Spyros, 2007. "Unawareness of theorems," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 51816, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
    4. Laibson, David I. & Gabaix, Xavier, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," Scholarly Articles 4554333, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    5. Luís Santos-Pinto, 2008. "Positive Self-image and Incentives in Organisations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(531), pages 1315-1332, 08.
    6. Sanford Grossman & Oliver Hart, . "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 15-80, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    7. Heifetz, Aviad & Meier, Martin & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2005. "A Canonical Model for Interactive Unawareness," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 60, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    8. Jing Li, 2008. "A Note on Unawareness and Zero Probability," PIER Working Paper Archive 08-022, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    9. Salvatore Modica & J.-Marc Tallon & Aldo Rustichini, 1998. "Unawareness and bankruptcy: A general equilibrium model," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 259-292.
    10. Filiz-Ozbay, Emel, 2012. "Incorporating unawareness into contract theory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 181-194.
    11. Kim-Sau Chung & Oliver Board, 2007. "Object-Based Unawareness," Working Papers 2007-2, University of Minnesota, Department of Economics, revised 24 Aug 2007.
    12. Modica, Salvatore & Rustichini, Aldo, 1999. "Unawareness and Partitional Information Structures," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 265-298, May.
    13. Li, Jing, 2009. "Information structures with unawareness," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 977-993, May.
    14. Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman & Aldo Rustichini, 1998. "Standard State-Space Models Preclude Unawareness," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(1), pages 159-174, January.
    15. de la Rosa, Leonidas Enrique, 2011. "Overconfidence and moral hazard," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 429-451.
    16. Ernst-Ludwig Thadden & Xiaojian Zhao, 2014. "Multi-task agency with unawareness," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 77(2), pages 197-222, August.
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