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Contractibility and the Design of Research Agreements

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  • Josh Lerner
  • Ulrike Malmendier

Abstract

We analyze how contractibility affects contract design. A major concern when designing research agreements is that researchers use their funding to subsidize other projects. We show that, when research activities are not contractible, an option contract is optimal. The financing firm obtains the option to terminate the agreement and, in case of termination, broad property rights. The threat of termination deters researchers from cross-subsidization, and the cost of exercising the termination option deters the financing firm from opportunistic termination. We test this prediction using 580 biotechnology research agreements. Contracts with termination options are more common when research is non-contractible. (JEL D86, L65, O31, O34)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 100 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 214-46

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:1:p:214-46

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.100.1.214
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  1. “Contractability and the Design of Research Agreements,” J. Lerner & U. Malmendier (2010)
    by afinetheorem in A Fine Theorem on 2013-03-05 08:53:29
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  1. Thomas Mayer, 2012. "Ziliak and McCloskey's Criticisms of Significance Tests: An Assessment," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 9(3), pages 256-297, September.
  2. Albert Banal-Estañol & Inés Macho-Stadler & David Pérez-Castrillo, 2011. "Research output from university-industry collaborative projects," Working Papers 2011/23, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  3. Kloyer, Martin & Scholderer, Joachim, 2012. "Effective incomplete contracts and milestones in market-distant R&D collaboration," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 346-357.
  4. Panico, Claudio, 2011. "On the contractual governance of research collaborations: Allocating control and intellectual property rights in the shadow of potential termination," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 1403-1411.
  5. Colombo, Massimo G. & Croce, Annalisa & Guerini, Massimiliano, 2013. "The effect of public subsidies on firms’ investment–cash flow sensitivity: Transient or persistent?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1605-1623.
  6. Englmaier, Florian & Muehlheusser, Gerd & Roider, Andreas, 2014. "Optimal incentive contracts for knowledge workers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 82-106.
  7. Niedermayer, Andras & Wu, Jianjun, 2013. "Breaking up a research consortium," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 342-353.
  8. Bester, Helmut & Münster, Johannes, 2013. "Subjective evaluation versus public information," Discussion Papers 2013/6, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  9. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompqllr09iatrn4log is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Panico, Claudio, 2012. "Control and contract design in research collaborations: A complete contract perspective," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 459-470.
  11. Niedermayer, Andras & Wu, Jianjun, 2013. "Breaking Up a Research Consortium," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 433, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  12. Marie-Laure Allain & Margaret K. Kyle & Emeric Henry, 2011. "Inefficiencies in technology transfer: theory and empirics," Sciences Po publications 8206, Sciences Po.
  13. Chou, Ting-Kai & Ou, Chin-Shyh & Tsai, Shu-Huan, 2014. "Value of strategic alliances: Evidence from the bond market," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 42-59.
  14. Beshears, John, 2013. "The performance of corporate alliances: Evidence from oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 324-346.
  15. Marie-Laure Allain & Emeric Henry & Margaret Kyle, 2011. "Inefficiencies in the sale of ideas: theory and empirics," Working Papers hal-00639128, HAL.
  16. Marco Furlotti, 2007. "There is more to contracts than incompleteness: a review and assessment of empirical research on inter-firm contract design," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 61-99, March.
  17. Gambardella, Alfonso & Panico, Claudio, 2014. "On the management of open innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 903-913.
  18. Boone, Audra L. & Ivanov, Vladimir I., 2012. "Bankruptcy spillover effects on strategic alliance partners," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(3), pages 551-569.
  19. Evelyn Korn & Stephan Meisenzahl, 2009. "Contracting still matters! Or: How to design a letter of intent," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200909, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  20. Hendrikse, G.W.J. & Windsperger, J., 2010. "Determinants of Contractual Completeness in Franchising," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2010-017-ORG, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus Uni.

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