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The value of information in an agency model with moral hazard
conference contributionposted on 2004-01-01, 00:00 authored by Randolph Silvers
I show that the principal and the agent may each prefer that the principal or the agent has imperfect information about the principal's technology in a principal-agent environment with moral hazard. Principals expend considerable resources on data cumulation and analysis. However, such investments in information acquisition are benecial only if the agent will know that the principal is not ignorant or it allows the principal to implement a dierent action. When the principal is perfectly informed about her technology, the agent prefers to be ignorant. In addition, the value of perfect information for the agency is negative if the principal would implement the same action with either possible technology. I also investigate the dierences between ex ante and ex post contracting, and the ramications of the principal being ignorant or potentially ignorant about the technology. Finally, I determine if the principal's utility varies continuously with the degree of informativeness of the agent about the principal's technology. In this vein, I determine whether the agent's uncertainty may make the principal better o if she has the less informative technology.