Econometrica

Moral Hazard Contracting and Private Credit Markets

Journal Article

This paper studies the impact of credit markets on optimal contracting, when the agent's “interim preference” over upcoming contracts is private information because personal financial decisions affect it via the wealth effect. The main result is a severe loss of incentive provision: equilibrium contracts invariably cause the agent to shirk (i.e., exert minimal effort) if the agent's private financial decision precedes moral hazard contracting. The basic intuition is that committing on another private variable, other than the effort level, exposes the parties to further exploitation of efficient risk‐sharing by relaxing the incentive constraint that was binding ex ante, unless the risk‐sharing was fully efficient to begin with.

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