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Title: Information and contracts : a study of principal-agent relationships
Author: Banerjee, Anindya
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1987
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This thesis is concentrated broadly in the field of mathematical industrial economics and more specifically upon what is known in the literature as principal-agent relationships. It focuses on investigating the nature of optimal contracts between, say, owners of the firm and the manager appointed by them to run the affairs of the firm or yet again between the owners and the workers employed in the firm. Chapter 1 introduces by first establishing the background of the analysis and then summarising the results of the thesis. The background consists mainly of implicit contract models, both of the symmetric and asymmetric information kind, and models of moral-hazard. The results of the thesis are contained in four chapters following the introduction. Chapters 2 and 3 are concerned primarily with the use made of principal agent models in the asymmetric-information implicit contract literature. This literature attempts to explain involuntary unemployment by showing that the inefficiency generated by the asymmetry in information between the principal (firm) and the workers (agent) manifests itself in employment lower than the efficient level. We show instead that results are altered in quite striking ways depending not only on the eventual asymmetry of information but also the asymmetry prevailing, say, when the agent takes his action, but before production occurs. Chapter 4 makes the case in favour of using the first-order approach in solving principal-agent models by proposing a weakening of the sufficient conditions which make this approach valid. Such weakening extends the range of cases - given by particular configurations of utility and density functions - for which the analytical convenience of the first-order approach may be utilised. Chapter 5 uses moral-hazard models and the first-order approach to answer the specific question "Should owner-managed firms with limited liability be taxed a higher rate than similar firms with unlimited liability?". The answer is "Yes, but only under certain conditions". Chapter 6 summarises and draws together the various strands of the arguments presented in the thesis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Industrial organization (Economic theory) ; Mathematical models