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Principal and Expert Agent

Listed author(s):
  • James Malcomson

This paper analyses principal-agent contracts when the agent`s action generates information not directly verifiable but used by the agent to make a risky decision. It considers a more general formulation than those studied previously, focusing on the impact on the decision made and the contract between principal and agent. It establishes a precise sense in which distorting decisions reduces the risk borne by a risk-averse agent and conditions under which implementing an optimal decision rule imposes no substantive restrictions on the contract. The paper also uses an application to bidding to supply a good or service to illustrate those results and derive additional ones. A risk-neutral agent with limited liability may optimally choose lower, less risky bids or higher, more risky bids, according to which relaxes the limited liability constraint. There are also natural conditions under which optimal contracts are monotone, possibly with flat sections, like stock option rewards.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper193.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 193.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2004
Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:193
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Web page: https://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
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  2. Cremer, Jacques & Khalil, Fahad, 1992. "Gathering Information before Signing a Contract," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 566-578, June.
  3. Szalay, Dezsö, 2009. "Contracts with endogenous information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 586-625, March.
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  5. repec:bla:joares:v:37:y:1999:i:1:p:27-55 is not listed on IDEAS
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  8. Cremer, Jacques & Khalil, Fahad & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1998. "Strategic Information Gathering before a Contract Is Offered," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 163-200, July.
  9. Cremer, Jacques & Khalil, Fahad & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1998. "Contracts and Productive Information Gathering," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 174-193, November.
  10. Richard A. Lambert, 1986. "Executive Effort and Selection of Risky Projects," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 77-88, Spring.
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  13. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
  14. Palomino, Frederic & Prat, Andrea, 2003. " Risk Taking and Optimal Contracts for Money Managers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(1), pages 113-137, Spring.
  15. repec:bla:joares:v:25:y:1987:i:1:p:68-89 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Paul Povel & Michael Raith, 2004. "Optimal Debt with Unobservabable Investments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(3), pages 599-616, Autumn.
  17. Lewis, Tracy R & Sappington, David E M, 1997. "Information Management in Incentive Problems," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 796-821, August.
  18. Stoughton, Neal M, 1993. " Moral Hazard and the Portfolio Management Problem," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 2009-2028, December.
  19. Dezsö Szalay, 2005. "The Economics of Clear Advice and Extreme Options," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 1173-1198.
  20. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, January.
  21. Feess, Eberhard & Walzl, Markus, 2004. "Delegated expertise--when are good projects bad news?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 77-82, January.
  22. J. A. Mirrlees, 1999. "The Theory of Moral Hazard and Unobservable Behaviour: Part I," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 3-21.
  23. Nahum D. Melumad & Dilip Mookherjee & Stefan Reichelstein, 1995. "Hierarchical Decentralization of Incentive Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 654-672, Winter.
  24. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
  25. Gromb, Denis & Martimort, David, 2007. "Collusion and the organization of delegated expertise," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 271-299, November.
  26. Oliver Hart & Bengt Holmstrom, 1986. "The Theory of Contracts," Working papers 418, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  27. 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.
  28. Barron, John M. & Waddell, Glen R., 2003. "Executive rank, pay and project selection," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 305-349, February.
  29. Jean-Jacques Laffont, 1989. "The Economics of Uncertainty and Information," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121360, January.
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