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Optimal Long-term Contracting with Learning

Author

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  • Jianfeng Yu

    (University of Minnesota)

  • Bin Wei

    (Federal Reserve Board)

  • Zhiguo He

    (University of Chicago, Booth School of Business)

Abstract

This paper introduces profitability uncertainty into an infinite-horizon variation of the classic Holmstrom and Milgrom (1987) model, and studies optimal dynamic contracting with endogenous learning. The agent's potential belief manipulation leads to the hidden information problem, which makes incentive provisions intertemporally linked in the optimal contract. We reduce the contracting problem into a dynamic programming problem with one state variable, and characterize the optimal contract with an ordinary differential equation. In the benchmark case of Holmstrom and Milgrom (1987) without learning, the optimal effort is constant, and the optimal contract is linear. In contrast, in our model with endogenous learning, the optimal effort policy becomes history dependent, and decreases over time on average. Moreover, we show that the optimal contract exhibits an option-like feature in that the incentives rise after good performance shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Jianfeng Yu & Bin Wei & Zhiguo He, 2012. "Optimal Long-term Contracting with Learning," 2012 Meeting Papers 221, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:221
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    Cited by:

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    3. Jakša Cvitanić & Xuhu Wan & Huali Yang, 2013. "Dynamics of Contract Design with Screening," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(5), pages 1229-1244, May.
    4. Hakenes, Hendrik & Katolnik, Svetlana, 2017. "On the incentive effects of job rotation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 424-441.
    5. Yaoyao Wu & Jinqiang Yang & Zhentao Zou, 2018. "Ambiguity sharing and the lack of relative performance evaluation," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 66(1), pages 141-157, July.
    6. Mohammad Abbas Rezaei, 2021. "Optimal Design of Limited Partnership Agreements," Papers 2104.07049, arXiv.org.
    7. Fichera, Eleonora & Banks, James & Siciliani, Luigi & Sutton, Matt, 2018. "Does patient health behaviour respond to doctor effort?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 225-251.
    8. Zsolt Bihary & P'eter Cs'oka & P'eter Ker'enyi & Alexander Szimayer, 2019. "Self-respecting worker in the gig economy: A dynamic principal-agent model," Papers 1902.10021, arXiv.org, revised Jun 2021.
    9. Swagata Bhattacharjee, 2019. "Dynamic Contracting for Innovation Under Ambiguity," Working Papers 1022, Ashoka University, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2019.
    10. Zhiguo He & Si Li & Bin Wei & Jianfeng Yu, 2014. "Uncertainty, Risk, and Incentives: Theory and Evidence," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(1), pages 206-226, January.
    11. Sebastian Gryglewicz & Barney Hartman-Glaser & Geoffery Zheng, 2020. "Growth Options, Incentives, and Pay for Performance: Theory and Evidence," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(3), pages 1248-1277, March.
    12. Vasama, Suvi, 2017. "On moral hazard and persistent private information," Research Discussion Papers 15/2017, Bank of Finland.
    13. Huang, Minjie & Kubick, Thomas R. & Tseng, Kevin, 2021. "Technology spillovers and the duration of executive compensation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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