nep-cta New Economics Papers
on Contract Theory and Applications
Issue of 2012‒09‒16
seven papers chosen by
Simona Fabrizi
Massey University, Albany

  1. Strict Liability, Capped Strict Liability, and Care Effort under Asymmetric Information By Gérard Mondello
  2. Information in tender offers with a large shareholder By Mehmet Ekmekci; Nenad Kos
  3. Contracting under asymmetric holding cost information in a serial supply chain with a nearly profit maximizing buyer By Guido Voigt
  4. Valuation, Adverse Selection, and Market Collapses By Michael J. Fishman; Jonathan A. Parker
  5. A Theory of Political and Economic Cycles By Laurence Ales; Pricila Maziero; Pierre Yared
  6. The Strategic Impact of Higher-Order Beliefs By Yi-Chun Chen; Alfredo Di Tillio; Eduardo Faingold; Siyang Xiong
  7. Moral hazard, dividends, and risk in banks By Enrico Onali

  1. By: Gérard Mondello (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - CNRS : UMR7321 - Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis (UNS))
    Abstract: This paper compares the effectiveness of strict liability and capped strict liability regimes in an agency relationship among a regulatory agency and operators of risky activities. Under a double asymmetric information assumption (wealth and efficiency in care effort), it shows that capping liability is more efficient than keeping with strict liability, this at the price of an informational rent. Efficiency means that the efficient agent supplies the level of safety effort equivalent to the first best solution one. At the optimum, this rent is minimized by the efficient contract supplied by the principal.
    Keywords: strict liability, capped liability, risk, Asymmetric information, agency relationships
    Date: 2012
  2. By: Mehmet Ekmekci; Nenad Kos
    Abstract: We study tender offers for a firm which is owned by one large shareholder who holds less than half of the total shares, and many small shareholders who each hold a unit share. Each shareholder is privately informed, yet uncertain, about the raider’s ability to improve the value of the firm, whereas the raider is unin- formed. In the benchmark model of complete information, the raider is unable to make a profit. As shown in Marquez and Y?lmaz (2008), the same obtains when the raider is facing only privately informed small shareholders. We show, however, that the combination of private information on the side of shareholders and the presence of a large shareholder can facilitate profitable takeovers. More precisely, for any given information structure, the raider can make a profit if the large shareholder holds a sufficiently large stake in the company. In the unique equilibrium outcome, neither the probability of a successful takeover nor the quilibrium price offer depends on the large shareholder’s information. Therefore, the large shareholder’s information is not reflected in the price. When the equilibrium price offer is positive, the large shareholder tenders all of his shares regardless of his information. Finally, we show that the same type of equilibria arise when there are several large shareholders, as long as their total stake in the company is smaller than one-half. Keywords: takeovers, tender offers, lemons problem, large shareholder. JEL Classification Numbers: D82, G34.
    Date: 2012
  3. By: Guido Voigt (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)
    Abstract: Screening contracts (or non-linear "menu of contracts") are frequently used for aligning the incentives in supply chains with private information. In this context, it is assumed that all supply chain parties are strictly (expected) profit maximizing and, therefore, sensible to even arbitrarily small pay-off differences between contract alternatives. However, previous behavioral work on contracting under asymmetric information in supply chains shows that agents (buyers) are not always strictly profit maximizing. Instead, they sometimes tend to choose contracts that have only a minor impact on their own performance but a substantially negative impact on the principal's (supplier's) and the overall supply chain's performance. Thus, these studies indicate that the buyers are in fact not strictly but only nearly profit maximizing when making their contract choices. The present work relaxes the assumption of the strictly profit maximizing buyer in a serial supply chain for a lotsizing framework with asymmetrically distributed holding cost information and deterministic end-customer demand. The study provides researchers and managers an approach on how to account for the buyer's insensitivity to arbitrarily small pay-off differences while providing a solution method for the resulting non-linear mathematical program. A numerical study compares the advantages of the "behavioral robust" contract assuming only nearly profit maximizing buyers against the classical screening contract assuming strictly profit maximizing buyers. The results highlight that supply chain performance losses can be substantially reduced under the behavioral robust contract.
    Keywords: Asymmetric information, Supply chain coordination, Contracting, Behavioral modeling
    Date: 2012–08
  4. By: Michael J. Fishman; Jonathan A. Parker
    Abstract: Valuation has an externality: it creates information on which adverse selection can occur. We study a market in which investors (or lenders) buy uncertain future cash flows that are ex ante identical but ex post heterogeneous across assets from sellers (or borrowers) with reservation values. There exists a limited amount of a costly technology that can be purchased before the market opens that allows an investor to value an asset — to get a private signal of the future payoff of that asset. Because sellers of assets that are valued and are rejected can sell to other investors, there are strategic complementarities in the choice of the capacity to do valuation, the private benefits to valuation exceed its social benefits, the market can exhibit multiple equilibria, and the market can deliver a unique valuation equilibrium when it is more efficient to transact without valuation. In the region of multiplicity, the move from a pooling equilibrium to a valuation equilibrium is always socially inefficient and has many features of a financial crisis: interest rate spreads rise, trade declines, unsophisticated investors leave the market, and sophisticated investors make profits. The efficient equilibrium in the region of multiplicity can be ensured by a large investor with the ability to commit to a price. We characterize several policies that can improve on market outcomes.
    JEL: E44 G01 G2 G28
    Date: 2012–09
  5. By: Laurence Ales; Pricila Maziero; Pierre Yared
    Abstract: We develop a theoretical framework in which political and economic cycles are jointly determined. These cycles are driven by three political economy frictions: policymakers are non-benevolent, they cannot commit to policies, and they have private information about the tightness of the government budget and rents. Our first main result is that, in the best sustainable equilibrium, distortions to production emerge and never disappear even in the long run. This result is driven by the interaction of limited commitment and private information on the side of the policymaker, since in the absence of either friction, there are no long run distortions to production. Our second result is that, if the variance of private information is sufficiently large, there is equilibrium turnover in the long run so that political cycles never disappear. Finally, our model produces a long run distribution of taxes, distortions, and turnover, where these all respond persistently to temporary economic shocks. We show that the model's predictions are consistent with the empirical evidence on the interaction of political and economic cycles in developing countries.
    JEL: D82 E62 H21 P16
    Date: 2012–09
  6. By: Yi-Chun Chen (Dept. of Economics, National University of Singapore); Alfredo Di Tillio (IGIR and Dept. of Economics, Universita Luigi Bocconi); Eduardo Faingold (Cowles Foundation, Yale University); Siyang Xiong (Dept. of Economics, Rice University)
    Abstract: Previous research has established that the predictions made by game theory about strategic behavior in incomplete information games are quite sensitive to the assumptions made about the players' infinite hierarchies of beliefs. We evaluate the severity of this robustness problem by characterizing conditions on the primitives of the model -- the players’ hierarchies of beliefs -- for the strategic behavior of a given Harsanyi type to be approximated by the strategic behavior of (a sequence of) perturbed types. This amounts to providing characterizations of the strategic topologies of Dekel, Fudenberg, and Morris (2006) in terms of beliefs. We apply our characterizations to a variety of questions concerning robustness to perturbations of higher-order beliefs, including genericity of common priors, and the connections between robustness of strategic behavior and the notion of common p-belief of Monderer and Samet (1989).
    Keywords: Games with incomplete information, Rationalizability, Higher-order beliefs, Robustness
    JEL: C70 C72
    Date: 2012–09
  7. By: Enrico Onali (Bangor Business School)
    Abstract: The relation between dividends and bank soundness has recently drawn much attention from both academics and policy makers. However, the existing literature lacks an investigation of the relation between dividends and bank risk taking. I find a positive relation between default risk and payout ratios, although this relation is insignificant for very high levels of default risk. Capital requirements and the desire to preserve the charter can offset the positive relation between default risk and payout ratios. Dividends can increase despite very high default risk, and during the recent financial crisis many banks paid out dividends after recording a loss.
    Keywords: dividend, bank risk, moral hazard
    JEL: G21 G35
    Date: 2012–01

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