Moral Hazard with Counterfeit Signals

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper


In many moral hazard problems, the principal evaluates the agent's performance based on signals which the agent may suppress and replace with counterfeits. This form of fraud may affect the design of optimal contracts drastically. For example, if fraud is costless and produces perfect counterfeits, then there is complete market failure. This paper studies how the possibility of fraud affects the design of incentives.

I show that in optimal contracts, the principal deters all fraud, and does so by two complementary mechanisms. First, the principal punishes signals that are suspicious, i.e. appear counterfeit. Second, the principal is lenient on bad signals that the agent could suppress, but does not.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEdinburgh School of Economics Discussion Paper Series
Number of pages39
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2013

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NameESE Discussion Papers


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