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Subjective Evaluation versus Public Information

  • Bester, Helmut
  • Münster, Johannes

This paper studies a principal-agent relation in which the principal's private information about the agent's effort choice is more accurate than a noisy public performance measure. For some contingencies the optimal contract has to specify ex post inefficiencies in the form of inefficient termination (firing the agent) or third-party payments (money burning). We show that money burning is the less efficient incentive device: it is used at most in addition to firing and only if the loss from termination is small. Under an optimal contract the agent's wage may depend only on the principal's report and not on the public signal. Nonetheless, public information is valuable as it facilitates truthful subjective evaluation by the principal.

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File URL: https://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/15340/1/399.pdf
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Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 399.

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Date of creation: 24 May 2013
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Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:399
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  1. Ján Zábojník, 2014. "Subjective evaluations with performance feedback," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(2), pages 341-369, 06.
  2. Bester, Helmut & Krähmer, Daniel, 2008. "Exit Options in Incomplete Contracts with Asymmetric Information," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 251, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  3. Myerson, Roger B, 1986. "Multistage Games with Communication," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 323-58, March.
  4. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  5. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2002. "On the Interplay of Hidden Action and Hidden Information in Simple Bilateral Trading Problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 444-460, April.
  6. Fahad Khalil & Jacques Lawarrée & Troy J. Scott, 2013. "Private Monitoring, Collusion and the Timing of Information," CESifo Working Paper Series 4497, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1979. "Optimal incentive contracts with imperfect information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 231-259, April.
  8. Matthias Lang, 2012. "Communicating Subjective Evaluations," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_14, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Mar 2014.
  9. Kahn, Charles & Huberman, Gur, 1988. "Two-sided Uncertainty and "Up-or-Out" Contracts," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(4), pages 423-44, October.
  10. William Fuchs, 2005. "Contracting with Repeated Moral Hazard and Private Evaluations," 2005 Meeting Papers 431, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Sanford J Grossman & Oliver D Hart, 2001. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391749000000000339, David K. Levine.
  12. Myerson, Roger B, 1979. "Incentive Compatibility and the Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 61-73, January.
  13. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
  14. Jimmy Chan & Bingyong Zheng, 2011. "Rewarding improvements: optimal dynamic contracts with subjective evaluation," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(4), pages 758-775, December.
  15. Sappington, David, 1983. "Limited liability contracts between principal and agent," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-21, February.
  16. Chwe, Michael Suk-Young, 1990. "Why Were Workers Whipped? Pain in a Principal-Agent Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1109-21, December.
  17. Curtis R. Taylor & Huseyin Yildirim, 2011. "Subjective Performance and the Value of Blind Evaluation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(2), pages 762-794.
  18. repec:eme:rlepps:v:18:y:1999:i:1999:p:177-242 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Bengt Holmstrom, 1997. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1205, David K. Levine.
  20. Bentley W. MacLeod, 2003. "Optimal Contracting with Subjective Evaluation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 216-240, March.
  21. Pearce, David G. & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1998. "The Interaction of Implicit and Explicit Contracts in Repeated Agency," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 75-96, April.
  22. Josh Lerner & Ulrike Malmendier, 2005. "Contractibility and the Design of Research Agreements," NBER Working Papers 11292, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Rachel M. Hayes & Scott Schaefer, 2000. "Implicit Contracts and the Explanatory Power of Top Executive Compensation for Future Performance," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(2), pages 273-293, Summer.
  24. Jonathan Levin, 2000. "Relational Incentive Contracts," Working Papers 01002, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  25. Bolton, Patrick & Scharfstein, David S, 1996. "Optimal Debt Structure and the Number of Creditors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 1-25, February.
  26. Sherstyuk, Katerina, 2000. " Performance Standards and Incentive Pay in Agency Contracts," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(4), pages 725-36, December.
  27. 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.
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