Federico Etro and Michela Cella

Equilibrium Principal-Agent Contracts: Competition and R&D Incentives  

We analyze competition between firms engaged in R&D activities and market competition to study the choice of the incentive contracts for managers with hidden productivity. Oligopolistic screening requires extra effort/investment from the most productive managers: under additional assumptions on the hazard rate of the distribution of types we obtain no distortion in the middle rather than at the top. The equilibrium contracts are characterized by effort differentials between (any) two types always increasing with the number of firms, suggesting a positive relation between competition and high-powered incentives. An inverted U curve between competition and absolute investments can emerge for the most productive managers.