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Flexible contracts

This paper studies the costs and benefits of delegating decisions to superiorly informed agents relative to the use of rigid, non discretionary contracts. The main focus of the paper lies in the analysis of the costs of delegation, primarily agency costs, versus their benefits, primarily the flexibility of the action choice. We first determine and characterize the properties of the optimal flexible contract. We then show that the higher the agents's degree of risk aversion, the higher is the agency costs of delegation and the less profitable a flexible contract relative to a rigid one. When the parties to not have sharp probability beliefs, the agent's degree of imprecision aversion introduces another agency cost, which again reduces the relative profitability of flexible contracts

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Paper provided by Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne in its series Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne with number 09072.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:09072
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  1. Antoine Billot & Alain Chateauneuf & Itzhak Gilboa & Jean-Marc Tallon, 2000. "Sharing beliefs: between agreeing and disagreeing," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00174553, HAL.
  2. Ernst Fehr & Oliver Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2008. "Contracts as reference points � experimental evidence," IEW - Working Papers 393, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. David Ahn & Syngjoo Choi & Douglas Gale & Shachar Kariv, 2008. "Estimating Ambiguity Aversion in a Portfolio Choice Experiment," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001989, David K. Levine.
  4. Bruno Jullien & Bernard Salanié & François Salanié, 1999. "Should More Risk-Averse Agents Exert More Effort?," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 24(1), pages 19-28, June.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
  6. Thibault Gajdos & Takashi Hayashi & Jean-Marc Tallon & Jean-Christophe Vergnaud, 2006. "Attitude toward imprecise information," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00130179, HAL.
  7. Ghirardato, Paolo & Maccheroni, Fabio & Marinacci, Massimo, 2004. "Differentiating ambiguity and ambiguity attitude," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 133-173, October.
  8. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00174553 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Kfir Eliaz & Ran Spiegler, 2007. "A Mechanism-Design Approach to Speculative Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(3), pages 875-884, 05.
  10. Mukerji, S., 1997. "Ambiguity aversion and incompleteness of contractual form," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9715, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  11. Michael Raith, 2008. "Specific knowledge and performance measurement," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 1059-1079.
  12. David Schmeidler, 1989. "Subjective Probability and Expected Utility without Additivity," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7662, David K. Levine.
  13. Tomasz Strzalecki & Jan Werner, . "Efficient Allocations under Ambiguity," Working Paper 8325, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  14. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
  15. Ernst Fehr & Oliver Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2011. "Contracts as Reference Points--Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 493-525, April.
  16. Peter Klibanoff & Massimo Marinacci & Sujoy Mukerji, 2005. "A Smooth Model of Decision Making under Ambiguity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(6), pages 1849-1892, November.
  17. Jean-Marc Tallon & Sujoy Mukerji, 2004. "Ambiguity aversion and the absence of wage indexation," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00174562, HAL.
  18. Wouter Dessein, 2002. "Authority and Communication in Organizations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 811-838.
  19. Gilboa, Itzhak & Schmeidler, David, 1989. "Maxmin expected utility with non-unique prior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 141-153, April.
  20. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2008. "Contracts as Reference Points," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 1-48.
  21. Ricardo Alonso & Niko Matouschek, 2008. "Optimal delegation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58665, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  22. Ian Jewitt, 1987. "Risk Aversion and the Choice Between Risky Prospects: The Preservation of Comparative Statics Results," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(1), pages 73-85.
  23. Alonso, Ricardo & Matouschek, Niko, 2005. "Optimal Delegation," CEPR Discussion Papers 5289, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  24. Rantakari Heikki V, 2008. "On the Role of Uncertainty in the Risk-Incentives Tradeoff," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-25, April.
  25. Armstrong, Mark & Vickers, John, 2008. "A model of delegated project choice," MPRA Paper 8963, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  26. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00451982 is not listed on IDEAS
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