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Multi-agent contracting with countervailing incentives and limited liability

  • Daniel Danau
  • Annalisa Vinella

We consider a principal who deals with two privately informed agents protected by limited liability. Their technologies are such that the fixed costs decline with the marginal costs (the types), which are correlated. Because of these technological features, agents display countervailing incentives to misrepresent type. We show that, with high liability, the first-best outcome can be effected for any type if (1) the fixed cost is non-concave in type, under the contract that yields the smallest feasible loss to agents; (2) the fixed cost is not very concave in type, under the contract that yields the maximum sustainable loss to agents. We further show that, with low liability, the first-best outcome is still implemented for a non-degenerate range of types if the fixed cost is less concave in type than some given threshold, which tightens as the liability reduces. The optimal contract entails pooling otherwise..

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Paper provided by Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm in its series CRIEFF Discussion Papers with number 0911.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:san:crieff:0911
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  1. Cremer, Jacques & McLean, Richard P, 1988. "Full Extraction of the Surplus in Bayesian and Dominant Strategy Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1247-57, November.
  2. Dominique M. Demougin & Devon a. Garvie, 1991. "Contractual Design with Correlated Information Under Limited Liability," Working Papers 815, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  3. Jullien, Bruno, 2000. "Participation Constraints in Adverse Selection Models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 1-47, July.
  4. Lewis, Tracy R. & Sappington, David E. M., 1989. "Countervailing incentives in agency problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 294-313, December.
  5. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:2:p:431-448 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Maggi G. & Rodriguez-Clare A., 1995. "On Countervailing Incentives," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 238-263, June.
  7. S. Lael Brainard & David Martimort, 1996. "Strategic Trade Policy Design with Asymmetric Information and Public Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(1), pages 81-105.
  8. Lewis, Tracy R & Sappington, David E M, 1989. "Inflexible Rules in Incentive Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 69-84, March.
  9. Riordan, Michael H. & Sappington, David E. M., 1988. "Optimal contracts with public ex post information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 189-199, June.
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