People who hire lawyers to recover damages in civil suits usually pay them on a commission basis. This method of payment helps overcome the:

principal-agent problem.
problem of the commons.
paradox of value.
problem of measuring utility.

When economists talk about principal-agent problems, they are discussing situations in which a person:

is overusing scarce resources because they are publicly owned.
is acting based on ethics rather than self interest.
who is acting for another has an incentive to pursue his own agenda.
has an incentive to cooperate based on self interest.

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