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Moral hazard and persistence

Author

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  • Hugo A. Hopenhayn
  • Arantxa Jarque

Abstract

We study a multiperiod principal-agent problem with moral hazard in which effort is persistent: the agent is required to exert effort only in the initial period of the contract, and this effort determines the conditional distribution of output in the following periods. We provide a characterization of the optimal dynamic compensation scheme. As in a static moral hazard problem, consumption — regardless of time period — is ranked according to likelihood ratios of output histories. As in most dynamic models with asymmetric information, the inverse of the marginal utility of consumption satisfies the martingale property derived in Rogerson (1985). Under the assumption of i.i.d. output we show that (i) incentives are concentrated in the later periods of the contract, implying an increase of the variance of compensation over time; (ii) the cost of implementing high effort decreases when there is an increase in either the duration or the intensity of persistence (i.e., how long and how strongly effort affects the distribution of output, respectively); and (iii) under infinite duration the cost gets arbitrarily close to that of the first best.

Suggested Citation

  • Hugo A. Hopenhayn & Arantxa Jarque, 2007. "Moral hazard and persistence," Working Paper 07-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:07-07
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rui Albuquerque & Hugo A. Hopenhayn, 2004. "Optimal Lending Contracts and Firm Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 285-315.
    2. Jarque, Arantxa, 2010. "Repeated moral hazard with effort persistence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(6), pages 2412-2423, November.
    3. Grochulski, Borys & Piskorski, Tomasz, 2010. "Risky human capital and deferred capital income taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 908-943, May.
    4. Wang, Cheng, 1997. "Incentives, CEO Compensation, and Shareholder Wealth in a Dynamic Agency Model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 72-105, September.
    5. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "Repeated Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(1), pages 69-76, January.
    6. Shavell, Steven & Weiss, Laurence, 1979. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1347-1362, December.
    7. Toshihiko Mukoyama & Ayşegül Şahin, 2005. "Repeated moral hazard with persistence," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 25(4), pages 831-854, June.
    8. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1997. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 412-438, April.
    9. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
    10. Phelan Christopher, 1995. "Repeated Moral Hazard and One-Sided Commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 488-506, August.
    11. Fernandes, Ana & Phelan, Christopher, 2000. "A Recursive Formulation for Repeated Agency with History Dependence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 223-247, April.
    12. Kim, Son Ku, 1995. "Efficiency of an Information System in an Agency Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(1), pages 89-102, January.
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    14. Illoong Kwon, 2006. "Incentives, wages, and promotions: theory and evidence," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 100-120, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wang, Cheng, 1997. "Incentives, CEO Compensation, and Shareholder Wealth in a Dynamic Agency Model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 72-105, September.
    2. Julien Prat & Boyan Jovanovic, 2010. "Dynamic Incentive Contracts Under Parameter Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 16649, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jacek Rothert, 2015. "Monitoring, moral hazard, and turnover," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 58(2), pages 355-374, February.
    4. Jovanovic, Boyan & Prat, Julien, 2014. "Dynamic contracts when agent's quality is unknown," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 9(3), September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Microeconomics;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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