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Early versus late effort in dynamic agencies with learning about productivity

  • Jens Robert Schöndube

    ()

    (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

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    In this paper we analyze a dynamic agency problem where contracting parties learn about the agent´s future productivity over time. We consider a two period model where both the agent and the principal observe the agent´s second period performance productivity at the end of the first period. This observation is assumed to be non verifiable information. We compare long-term contracts to short-term contracts with respect to their suitability to motivate effort in both periods. On the one hand short-term agreements allow for a better fine-tuning of second period incentives as they can be aligned to the observation of the agent´s second period performance productivity. On the other hand in short-term agreements the effect of early effort on future performance is ignored as contracts have to be sequentially optimal. Hence, the difference between long-term and short-term agreements is characterized by a trade-off between inducing effort in the first and in the second period. We analyze the determinants of this trade-off and demonstrate its implications for performance easurement and information system design (e.g. we compare accrual to cash-accounting).

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    File URL: http://www.ww.uni-magdeburg.de/fwwdeka/femm/a2007_Dateien/2007_26.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2007
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    Paper provided by Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management in its series FEMM Working Papers with number 07026.

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    Length: 31 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:mag:wpaper:07026
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