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Repeated Interaction and the Revelation of the Monitor's Type: A Principal-Monitor-Agent Problem

  • Osório Costa, Antonio Miguel

This paper studies a dynamic principal-monitor-agent relation where a strategic principal delegates the task of monitoring the effort of a strategic agent to a third party. The latter we call the monitor, whose type is initially unknown. Through repeated interaction the agent might learn his type. We show that this process damages the principal's payoffs. Compensation is assumed exogenous, limiting to a great extent the provision of incentives. We go around this difficulty by introducing costly replacement strategies, i.e. the principal replaces the monitor, thus disrupting the agent's learning. We found that even when replacement costs are null, if the revealed monitor is strictly preferred by both parties, there is a loss in efficiency due to the impossibility of bene…tting from it. Nonetheless, these strategies can partially recover the principal's losses. Additionally, we establish upper and lower bounds on the payoffs that the principal and the agent can achieve. Finally we characterize the equilibrium strategies under public and private monitoring (with communication) for different cost and impatience levels.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2072/151619
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Paper provided by Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2072/151619.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:urv:wpaper:2072/151619
Contact details of provider: Postal: Avda. de la Universitat,1 - 43204 Reus (Tarragona)
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Fax: 977 75 98 10
Web page: http://www.urv.catEmail:


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  1. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 2005. "Contract Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262025760, June.
  2. Bull, Clive, 1987. "The Existence of Self-Enforcing Implicit Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(1), pages 147-59, February.
  3. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 2002. "Relational Contracts And The Theory Of The Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 39-84, February.
  4. Harold L. Cole & James Dow & William B. English, 1994. "Default, settlement, and signalling: lending resumption in a reputational model of sovereign debt," Staff Report 180, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Baker, George & Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1994. "Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1125-56, November.
  7. Abreu, Dilip & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1986. "Optimal cartel equilibria with imperfect monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 251-269, June.
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