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Framing contingencies in contracts

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  • Zhao, Xiaojian

Abstract

This paper develops a contracting model in which the principal frames the contract when the agent is unaware of some contingencies, yet is aware that she may be unaware. We call the contract vague if the agent is still unaware of some contingencies after understanding the contract. We show that the optimal contract is vague if and only if the principal exploits the agent. Applying the model to an insurance problem, we show the insuree is free from exploitation if she slightly underestimates the unforeseen calamities. In a contracting problem, whenever the contractor is unaware of the force majeure event, she is exploited by the employer.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Mathematical Social Sciences.

Volume (Year): 61 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 31-40

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Handle: RePEc:eee:matsoc:v:61:y:2011:i:1:p:31-40

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505565

Related research

Keywords: Framing effects Contracts Unforeseen contingencies Unawareness;

References

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  1. Heifetz, Aviad & Meier, Martin & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2005. "Interactive Unawareness," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 52, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  2. Eddie Dekel & Barton L. Lipman & Aldo Rustichini, 1998. "Standard State-Space Models Preclude Unawareness," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(1), pages 159-174, January.
  3. Jean Tirole, 2009. "Cognition and Incomplete Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 265-94, March.
  4. Kim-Sau Chung & Oliver Board, 2007. "Object-Based Unawareness," Working Papers 2007-2, University of Minnesota, Department of Economics, revised 24 Aug 2007.
  5. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
  6. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
  7. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 505-540, May.
  8. David S. Ahn & Haluk Ergin, 2010. "Framing Contingencies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(2), pages 655-695, 03.
  9. Johnson, Eric J, et al, 1993. " Framing, Probability Distortions, and Insurance Decisions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 35-51, August.
  10. Li, Jing, 2009. "Information structures with unawareness," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 977-993, May.
  11. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Feinberg, Yossi, 2012. "Games with Unawareness," Research Papers 2122, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.

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