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We base a contracting theory for a start-up firm on an agency model with observ- able but nonverifiable effort, and renegotiable contracts. Two essential restrictions on simple contracts are imposed: the entrepreneur must be given limited liability, and the investor’s earnings must not decrease in the realized profit of the firm. All message game contracts with pure strategy equilibria (and no third parties) are considered. Within this class of contracts/equilibria, and regardless of who has the renegotiating bargaining power, debt and convertible debt maximize the entrepre- neur’s incentives to exert effort. These contracts are optimal if the entrepreneur has the bargaining power in renegotiation. If the investor has the bargaining power, the same is true unless debt induces excessive effort. In the latter case, a non-debt simple contract achieves efficiency — the non-contractibility of effort does not lower welfare. Thus, when the non-contractibility of effort matters, our results mirror typ- ical capital structure dynamics: an early use of debt claims, followed by a switch to equity-like claims. Download Paper
We present three examples of finitely repeated games with public monitoring that have sequential equilibria in private strategies, i.e., strategies that depend on own past actions as well as public signals. Such private sequential equilibria can have features quite unlike those of the more familiar perfect public equilibria: (i) making a public signal less informative can create Pareto superior equilibrium outcomes; (U) the equilibrhun finalperiod action profile need not be a stage game equilibrium; and (iii) even if the stage game has a unique correlated (and hence Nash) equilibrium, the first-period action profile need not be a stage game equilibrium. Download Paper
A moral hazard model with renegotiation is studied in which contracts must satisfy two natural restrictions, limited liability and monotonicity of payments. After he has chosen his effort, and before its consequence is realized, a risk averse entrepreneur (agent) may renegotiate his contract with a risk neutral investor (principal). Assuming the agent has the renegotiation bargaining power, a debt contract is the optimal initial contract. Download Paper
We consider the dynamic private provision of funds to projects that generate flows of public benefits. Participants have complete information about the environment, but imperfect information about individual actions: each period they observe only the aggregate contribution. Each player may contribute any amount in any period before the contributing horizon is reached. All Nash equilibrium outcomes are characterized. In many cases they are all also perfect Bayesian equilibrium outcomes. If the horizon is long, if the players’ preferences are similar, and if they are patient or the period length is short, perfect Bayesian equilibria exist that essentially complete the project. In some of them the completion time shrinks to zero with the period length – efficiency is achieved in the limit. Download Paper