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A Different Approach to Agency Theory and Implications For ESG

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posted on 2024-02-21, 19:01 authored by Jonathan Bonham, Amoray Riggs-Cragun
In conventional agency theory, the agent is modeled as exerting unobservable “effort” that influences the distribution over outcomes the principal cares about. Recent papers instead allow the agent to choose the entire distribution, an assumption that better describes the extensive and flexible control that CEOs have over firm outcomes. Under this assumption, the optimal contract rewards the agent directly for outcomes the principal cares about, rather than for what those outcomes reveal about the agent’s effort. This article briefly summarizes this new agency model and discusses its implications for contracting on ESG activities.

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Citation

Jonathan Bonham and Amoray Riggs-Cragun, A Different Approach to Agency Theory and Implications For ESG, 47 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 635 (2024).

issn

1078-1927

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