DP11766 | A Theory of Threshold Contracts

Publication Date

01/11/2017

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Abstract

We consider an infinitely repeated reappointment game in a principal–agent relationship and examine the consequences of threshold contracts, which forbid reappointment if the principal’s utility is too low. Typical examples are voter–politician or government–public servant relationships. The agent chooses costly effort and enjoys being in office until he is deselected. The principal observes a noisy signal of the agent’s effort and decides whether to reappoint the agent or not. We analyse the stationary Markovian equilibria of this game with and without threshold contracts. We identify the circumstances under which such threshold contracts are welfare-improving or beneficial for the principal, which, in turn, may justify attempts to introduce such contracts in politics.