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Repeated Moral Hazard with Persistence

  • MUKOYAMA, Toshihiko
  • SAHIN, Aysegül

This paper considers the optimal contract when the current (hidden) action of an agent has a persistent effect on the future outcome. In this setting, the current outcome is not only a signal of the current action taken by the agent, but also conveys information about his past actions. The optimal contract in a two-effort choice, two-period setting is characterized analytically and numerically. In particular, it is shown that persistence tends to make compensation less responsive to the first-period outcome. At the extreme, there are cases where the agent is perfectly insured against the first-period outcome: the agent obtains the same utility regardless of the first-period outcome. The model is extended to a setting with three effort choices, a three-period setting, and an N-period setting with two-period persistence. Also discussed is an application of our model to the optimal unemployment insurance program. Some empirical evidence is then presented.

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Paper provided by Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 01-2004.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mtl:montec:01-2004
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  1. 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 1347-62, December.
  2. Atila Abdulkadiroglu & Burhanettin Kuruscu & Aysegul Sahin, 2002. "Unemployment Insurance and the Role of Self-Insurance," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(3), pages 681-703, July.
  3. Williamson, Stephen D. & Wang, Cheng, 1999. "Moral Hazard, Optimal Unemployment Insurance, and Experience Rating," Working Papers 99-03, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Christopher Phelan & Robert M Townsend, 2010. "Computing Multi-Period, Information Constrained Optima," Levine's Working Paper Archive 117, David K. Levine.
  6. Spear, Stephen E & Srivastava, Sanjay, 1987. "On Repeated Moral Hazard with Discounting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 599-617, October.
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