A Case for Percentage Commission Contracts: The Impact of a “Race” Among Agents

A Case for Percentage Commission Contracts: The Impact of a “Race” Among Agents In standard principal-agent problems, the issue at hand is how to align the interests of the agent with those of her principal. A commonly used contract involves the principal paying the agent a percentage of the sale price as commission. With respect to real estate brokerage contracts, it has been argued that percentage commission contracts fail to provide sufficient incentives to the agent. This paper re-evaluates the standard solution to a one seller, one agent agency problem by introducing more than one agent. It is shown that percentage commission contracts can induce first-best effort levels from agents. The result is due to the negative externalities created by the winner-takes-all race among agents. The optimal commission rates in this model are inconsistent, however, with the observed uniformity in commission rates across markets in the USA. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics Springer Journals

A Case for Percentage Commission Contracts: The Impact of a “Race” Among Agents

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Economics; Regional/Spatial Science; Financial Services
ISSN
0895-5638
eISSN
1573-045X
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11146-008-9139-x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In standard principal-agent problems, the issue at hand is how to align the interests of the agent with those of her principal. A commonly used contract involves the principal paying the agent a percentage of the sale price as commission. With respect to real estate brokerage contracts, it has been argued that percentage commission contracts fail to provide sufficient incentives to the agent. This paper re-evaluates the standard solution to a one seller, one agent agency problem by introducing more than one agent. It is shown that percentage commission contracts can induce first-best effort levels from agents. The result is due to the negative externalities created by the winner-takes-all race among agents. The optimal commission rates in this model are inconsistent, however, with the observed uniformity in commission rates across markets in the USA.

Journal

The Journal of Real Estate Finance and EconomicsSpringer Journals

Published: Jul 29, 2008

References

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