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Expert incentives: cure versus prevention

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  • K. de Jaegher

Abstract

This paper distinguishes between two scenarios for the expert-client encounter. In the cure scenario, the client does not know whether a loss can be recovered. In the prevention scenario, the client faces a threat but does not know whether this threat is real enough to justify preventive action. The client wants to induce the expert both to give an accurate diagnosis and to put appropriate effort into cure or prevention. It is shown that in the cure scenario, a contingent fee solves both these incentive problems. In the prevention scenario, however, putting up with low effort makes it easier to get an accurate diagnosis, and the use of contingent fees should be limited. These results are interpreted as providing a rationale for observed exceptions to legal and ethical restrictions on the use of contingent fees. Indeed, such exceptions are often granted for cases that fit the cure scenario.

Suggested Citation

  • K. de Jaegher, 2007. "Expert incentives: cure versus prevention," Working Papers 07-08, Utrecht School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:0708
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    File URL: https://dspace.library.uu.nl/bitstream/handle/1874/31470/07-08.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "The First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1357-1367, November.
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    5. Dezsö Szalay, 2005. "The Economics of Clear Advice and Extreme Options," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 1173-1198.
    6. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1990. "Moral Hazard and Renegotiation in Agency Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1279-1319, November.
    7. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    8. McGuire, Thomas G., 2000. "Physician agency," Handbook of Health Economics,in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 461-536 Elsevier.
    9. Taylor, Curtis R, 1995. "The Economics of Breakdowns, Checkups, and Cures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 53-74, February.
    10. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
    11. Emons, Winand, 2000. "Expertise, contingent fees, and insufficient attorney effort," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 21-33, March.
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    Keywords

    Prevention; Cure; Expert Incentives; Principal-Agent Models;

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