3000 chemin de la côte-Sainte-Catherine
Montreal H3T 2A7
Institutional Affiliation: HEC Montreal
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|December 2014||The Generalized Informativeness Principle|
with Alex Edmans, Daniel Gottlieb: w20729
This paper shows that the informativeness principle, as originally formulated by Holmstrom (1979), does not hold if the first-order approach is invalid. We introduce a "generalized informativeness principle" that takes into account non-local incentive constraints and holds generically, even without the first-order approach. Our result holds for both separable and non-separable utility functions.
|October 2014||The Value of Informativeness for Contracting|
with Alex Edmans, Daniel Gottlieb: w20542
The informativeness principle demonstrates qualitative benefits to increasing signal precision. However, it is difficult to quantify these benefits -- and compare them against the costs of precision -- since we typically cannot solve for the optimal contract and analyze how it changes with informativeness. We consider a standard agency model with risk-neutrality and limited liability, where the optimal contract is a call option. The direct effect of reducing signal volatility is a fall in the value of the option, benefiting the principal. The indirect effect is a change in the agent's effort incentives. If the original option is sufficiently out-of-the-money, the agent can only beat the strike price if he exerts effort and there is a high noise realization. Thus, a fall in volatility reduc...
|September 2014||The Informativeness Principle Under Limited Liability|
with Alex Edmans, Daniel Gottlieb: w20456
This paper shows that the informativeness principle does not automatically extend to settings with limited liability. Even if a signal is informative about effort, it may have no value for contracting. An agent with limited liability is paid zero for certain output realizations. Thus, even if these output realizations are accompanied by an unfavorable signal, the payment cannot fall further and so the principal cannot make use of the signal. Similarly, a principal with limited liability may be unable to increase payments after a favorable signal. We derive necessary and sufficient conditions for signals to have positive value. Under bilateral limited liability and a monotone likelihood ratio, the value of information is non-monotonic in output, and the principal is willing to pay more for ...