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Bertrand and Walras equilibria under moral hazard

  • Alberto Bennardo


    (CSEF, University of Salerno, and University of California at Los Angeles)

  • P.A. Chiappori


    (University of Chicago)

We consider a simple model of competition under moral hazard with constant return technologies. We consider preferences that are not separable in effort: marginal utility of income is assumed to increase with leisure, especially for high income levels. We show that, in this context, Bertrand competition may result in positive equilibrium profit. This result holds for purely idiosyncratic shocks when only deterministic contracts are considered, and extends to unrestricted contract spaces in the presence of aggregate uncertainty. Finally, these findings have important consequences upon the definition of an equilibrium. We show that, in this context, a Walrasian general equilibrium a la Prescott-Townsend may fail to exist: any 'equilibrium' must involve rationing.

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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 87.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Political Economy, 2003, vol. 104, pages 785-817
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:87
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  1. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
  2. Edward Simpson Prescott & Robert M. Townsend, 1996. "Theory of the firm: applied mechanism design," Working Paper 96-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  3. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1989. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 447-80, March.
  4. Helpman, Elhanan & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1975. "On moral hazard in general equilibrium theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 8-23, February.
  5. Bisin, Alberto & Guaitoli, Danilo, 1998. "Moral Hazard and Non-Exclusive Contracts," CEPR Discussion Papers 1987, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Jewitt, Ian, 1988. "Justifying the First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1177-90, September.
  7. Dreze, Jacques H, 1975. "Existence of an Exchange Equilibrium under Price Rigidities," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 16(2), pages 301-20, June.
  8. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  9. Gale, Douglas, 1996. "Equilibria and Pareto Optima of Markets with Adverse Selection," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 207-35, February.
  10. Frøystein Gjesdal, 1982. "Information and Incentives: The Agency Information Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(3), pages 373-390.
  11. Prescott, Edward C & Townsend, Robert M, 1984. "Pareto Optima and Competitive Equilibria with Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 21-45, January.
  12. repec:oup:qjecon:v:90:y:1976:i:4:p:630-49 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Bester, Helmut, 1985. "Screening vs. Rationing in Credit Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 850-55, September.
  14. Arnott, R. & Stiglitz, J., 1994. "Price Equilibrium, Efficiency, and Decentralizability in Insurance Markets with Moral Hazard," Papers 05, Laval - Laboratoire Econometrie.
  15. Richard J. Arnott & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1988. "The Basic Analytics of Moral Hazard," NBER Working Papers 2484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Richard Arnott & Joseph E Stiglitz, 2010. "Randomization with Asymmetric Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2054, David K. Levine.
  17. Malcomson, James M, 1984. "Work Incentives, Hierarchy, and Internal Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 486-507, June.
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