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Dynamic Contracts Under Loss Aversion

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We analyze a dynamic moral hazard principal-agent model with an agent who is lossaverse and whose reference updates according to the previous period’s consumption.When there is full commitment and the agent has no access to credit, in every periodafter the first the optimal payment scheme is insensitive to the current outcome in an interval,offering to pay the reference for a set of performance measures. Therefore, thereis a positive probability of observing wage persistence even if outcomes vary over time.Moreover, the model predicts a “status quo bias†–a preference for consuming the fullallocation if the agent is allowed to intertemporally reallocate consumption after the outcomeis realized. This result in turn implies that unlike the canonical model, the optimalcontract may be implemented even when the agent has access to a savings technology.We use subdifferential calculus to address the non-differentiable utility function.
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  • Andrea Repetto & Alejandro Jofré & Sofía Moroni, 2012. "Dynamic Contracts Under Loss Aversion," Working Papers wp_024, Adolfo Ibáñez University, School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:uai:wpaper:wp_024
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    1. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 2005. "Contract Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262025760, January.
    2. William T. Dickens & Lorenz Goette & Erica L. Groshen & Steinar Holden & Julian Messina & Mark E. Schweitzer & Jarkko Turunen & Melanie E. Ward, 2007. "How Wages Change: Micro Evidence from the International Wage Flexibility Project," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 195-214, Spring.
    3. Thomas Steenburgh, 2008. "Effort or timing: The effect of lump-sum bonuses," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 235-256, September.
    4. Paul Oyer, 1998. "Fiscal Year Ends and Nonlinear Incentive Contracts: The Effect on Business Seasonality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 149-185.
    5. Dirk Engelmann & Guillaume Hollard, 2010. "Reconsidering the Effect of Market Experience on the “Endowment Effect”," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(6), pages 2005-2019, November.
    6. Lebow David E & Saks Raven E & Wilson Beth Anne, 2003. "Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity: Evidence from the Employment Cost Index," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, October.
    7. Kohei Daido & Hideshi Itoh, 2007. "The Pygmalion and Galatea Effects: An Agency Model with Reference-Dependent Preferences and Applications to Self-Fulfilling Prophecy," Discussion Paper Series 35, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised Sep 2007.
    8. Munro, Alistair & Sugden, Robert, 2003. "On the theory of reference-dependent preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 407-428, April.
    9. Thomas Beissinger & Christoph Knoppik, 2001. "Downward Nominal Rigidity in West German Earnings, 1975-95," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 2(4), pages 385-417, November.
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