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Mathias Dewatripont

Mathias Dewatripont is Professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, a Research Fellow at its European Centre for Adanced Research in Economics and Statistics (ECARES) and Research Director of the London-based Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR).

Titles by This Author

Despite the vast research literature on topics relating to contract theory, only a few of the field's core ideas are covered in microeconomics textbooks. This long-awaited book fills the need for a comprehensive textbook on contract theory suitable for use at the graduate and advanced undergraduate levels. It covers the areas of agency theory, information economics, and organization theory, highlighting common themes and methodologies and presenting the main ideas in an accessible way. It also presents many applications in all areas of economics, especially labor economics, industrial organization, and corporate finance. The book emphasizes applications rather than general theorems while providing self-contained, intuitive treatment of the simple models analyzed. In this way, it can also serve as a reference for researchers interested in building contract-theoretic models in applied contexts.The book covers all the major topics in contract theory taught in most graduate courses. It begins by discussing such basic ideas in incentive and information theory as screening, signaling, and moral hazard. Subsequent sections treat multilateral contracting with private information or hidden actions, covering auction theory, bilateral trade under private information, and the theory of the internal organization of firms; long-term contracts with private information or hidden actions; and incomplete contracts, the theory of ownership and control, and contracting with externalities. Each chapter ends with a guide to the relevant literature. Exercises appear in a separate chapter at the end of the book.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: solutions to all exercises in the book


The Prudential Regulation of Banks applies modern economic theory to prudential regulation of financial intermediaries. Dewatripont and Tirole tackle the key problem of providing the right incentives to management in banks by looking at how external intervention by claimholders (holders of equity or debt) affects managerial incentives and how that intervention might ideally be implemented. Their primary focus is the regulation of commercial banks and S&Ls, but many of the implications of their theory are also valid for other intermediaries such as insurance companies, pension funds, and securities funds.

Observing that the main concern of the regulation of intermediaries is solvency (the relation between equity, debt, and asset riskiness), the authors provide institutional background and develop a case for regulation as performing the monitoring functions (screening, auditing, convenant writing, and intervention) that dispersed depositors are unable or unwilling to perform. They also illustrate the dangers of regulatory failure in a summary of the S&L crisis of the 1980s.

Following a survey of banking theory, Dewatripont and Tirole develop their model of the capital structure of banks and show how optimal regulation can be achieved using capital adequacy requirements and external intervention when banks are violated. They explain how regulation can be designed to minimize risks of accounting manipulations and to insulate bank managers from macroeconomic shocks, which are beyond their control. Finally, they provide a detailed evaluation of the existing regulation and of potential alternatives, such as rating agencies, private deposit insurance, and large private depositors. They show that these reforms are, at best, a complement, rather than a substitute, to the existing regulation which combines capital ratios with external intervention in case of insolvency.

The Prudential Regulation of Banks is part of the Walras Pareto Lectures, from the Universiy of Lausanne.