Delegating pricing authority to sales agents: The impact of kickbacks

Year: 2019
Type: Journal Publication
Journal: Management Science
Open Science:


We investigate a situation where a firm employing a sales agent faces moral hazard with respect to prospecting effort and the threat of collusion between agent and customer. We show that the firm should offer more pricing authority to the agent the more severe the moral hazard problem, although doing so further expands the agent’s discretion. Nevertheless, restricting the agent’s pricing authority such that he cannot sell to low-valuation customers is typically optimal to prevent collusion. We derive optimal collusion-proof contracts, describe conditions under which collusion arises in equilibrium, and study the optimal interaction between delegation, incentive pay, and the firm’s installed auditing technology.

Participating Institutions

TRR 266‘s main locations are Paderborn University (Coordinating University), HU Berlin, and University of Mannheim. All three locations have been centers for accounting and tax research for many years. They are joined by researchers from LMU Munich, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Goethe University Frankfurt, University of Cologne and Leibniz University Hannover who share the same research agenda.

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