Agency in Project Screening and Termination Decisions
Bai, Chong-en, and Yijang Wang. “Agency in Project Screening and Termination Decisions”. Boston College Working Papers in Economics 347, 1997.
We construct an agency model in which the planner (agent) makes project starting and termination decisions on behalf of the state (principal) to reflect the practice of socialist economies. The model shows that asymmetric information between the state and the planner regarding the quality of projects started leads to the persistence of unprofitable projects in most cases. Since in the model it is assumed that the state's objective is to maximize economic profit and the state has full power to dictate and enforce the optimal contract, the finding of the model has the implication that hardening budget constraints in socialist economies is difficult even under an "ideal" setting when these economies are free of social considerations and political frictions.