The trade-off between incentives and endogenous risk
Standard models of moral hazard predict a negative relationship between risk and incentives, but the empirical work has not confirmed this prediction. In this paper, we propose a model with adverse selection followed by moral hazard, where effort and the degree of risk aversion are private information of an agent who can control the mean and the variance of profits. For a given contract, more risk-averse agents supply more effort in risk reduction. If the marginal utility of incentives decreases with risk aversion, more risk-averse agents prefer lower-incentive contracts; thus, in the optimal contract, incentives are positively correlated with endogenous risk. In contrast, if risk aversion is high enough, the possibility of reduction in risk makes the marginal utility of incentives increasing in risk aversion and, in this case, risk and incentives are negatively related.
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