IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedgif/1195.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Incentive Contracting Under Ambiguity Aversion

Author

Listed:
  • Qi Liu

    ()

  • Lei Lu
  • Bo Sun

Abstract

This paper studies a principal-agent model in which the information on future firm performance is ambiguous and the agent is averse to ambiguity. We show that if firm risk is ambiguous, while stocks always induce the agent to perceive a high risk, options can induce him to perceive a low risk. As a result, options can be less costly in incentivizing the agent than stocks in the presence of ambiguity. In addition, we show that providing the agent with more incentives would induce the agent to perceive a higher risk, and there is a discontinuous jump in the compensation cost as incentives increase, which makes the principal reluctant to reset contracts frequently when underlying fundamentals change. Thus, compensation contracts exhibit an inertia property. Lastly, the model sheds some light on the use of relative performance evaluation, and provides a rationale for the puzzle of pay-for-luck in the presence of ambiguity.

Suggested Citation

  • Qi Liu & Lei Lu & Bo Sun, 2017. "Incentive Contracting Under Ambiguity Aversion," International Finance Discussion Papers 1195, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:1195
    DOI: 10.17016/IFDP.2017.1195
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/ifdp/2017/files/ifdp1195.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Marie-Louise Vierø, 2012. "Contracting in Vague Environments," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 104-130, May.
    2. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
    3. Karni, Edi, 2009. "A reformulation of the maxmin expected utility model with application to agency theory," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1-2), pages 97-112, January.
    4. Jack Stecher & Timothy Shields & John Dickhaut (deceased), 2011. "Generating Ambiguity in the Laboratory," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(4), pages 705-712, April.
    5. Jaeyoung Sung, 1995. "Linearity with Project Selection and Controllable Diffusion Rate in Continuous-Time Principal-Agent Problems," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 720-743, Winter.
    6. Kellner, Christian, 2015. "Tournaments as a response to ambiguity aversion in incentive contracts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 159(PA), pages 627-655.
    7. Kellner, Christian & Riener, Gerhard, 2014. "The effect of ambiguity aversion on reward scheme choice," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 125(1), pages 134-137.
    8. Philipp Karl Illeditsch, 2011. "Ambiguous Information, Portfolio Inertia, and Excess Volatility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(6), pages 2213-2247, December.
    9. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2001. "Are CEOs Rewarded for Luck? The Ones Without Principals Are," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 901-932.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ambiguity; Executive compensation; Options; Relative performance evaluation;

    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:1195. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/frbgvus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.