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Dynamic Incentive Contracts under Parameter Uncertainty

  • Prat, Julien

    ()

    (CREST)

  • Jovanovic, Boyan

    ()

    (New York University)

We analyze a long-term contracting problem involving common uncertainty about a parameter capturing the productivity of the relationship, and featuring a hidden action for the agent. We develop an approach that works for any utility function when the parameter and noise are normally distributed and when the effort and noise affect output additively. We then analytically solve for the optimal contract when the agent has exponential utility. We find that the Pareto frontier shifts out as information about the agent's quality improves. In the standard spot-market setup, by contrast, when the parameter measures the agent's "quality", the Pareto frontier shifts inwards with better information. Commitment is therefore more valuable when quality is known more precisely. Incentives then are easier to provide because the agent has less room to manipulate the beliefs of the principal. Moreover, in contrast to results under one-period commitment, wage volatility declines as experience accumulates.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5323.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: Theoretical Economics
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5323
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  1. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-28, March.
  2. Noah Williams, 2008. "Persistent Private Information," NBER Working Papers 13894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Jarque, Arantxa, 2010. "Repeated moral hazard with effort persistence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(6), pages 2412-2423, November.
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  7. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  8. Arpad Abraham & Nicola Pavoni, 2008. "Efficient Allocations with Moral Hazard and Hidden Borrowing and Lending: A Recursive Formulation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 781-803, October.
  9. Marek Kapicka, 2013. "Efficient Allocations in Dynamic Private Information Economies with Persistent Shocks: A First-Order Approach," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(3), pages 1027-1054.
  10. Hugo Hopenhayn & Arantxa Jarque, 2006. "Moral Hazard and Persistence," 2006 Meeting Papers 670, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  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. Murphy, K.J. & Gibbons, R., 1990. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns : Theory and Evidence," Papers 90-09, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  13. Yahel Giat & Steve T. Hackman & Ajay Subramanian, 2010. "Investment under Uncertainty, Heterogeneous Beliefs, and Agency Conflicts," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(4), pages 1360-1404, April.
  14. Manishi Prasad & Peter Wahlqvist & Rich Shikiar & Ya-Chen Tina Shih, 2004. "A," PharmacoEconomics, Springer Healthcare | Adis, vol. 22(4), pages 225-244.
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  16. Noah Williams, 2004. "On Dynamic Principal-Agent Problems in Continuous Time," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000426, UCLA Department of Economics.
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