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Incentive Contracts with Enforcement Costs

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  • Katherine Doornik
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    Abstract

    Legal enforcement of contracts is expensive and therefore parties will typically negotiate to avoid these costs. However, if negotiation takes place under asymmetric information, enforcement will occur in some states. We study a simple principal-agent model with risk neutrality and limited liability and assume costly, nonautomatic enforcement and private information by the principal. We show that the form of the contract systematically affects the likelihood of proceeding to court. In order to reduce the probability of enforcement, an optimal incentive contract must be one step. In addition, the principal may leave the agent with some surplus and effort will typically deviate from the productively efficient level. (JEL D82, D86, K40) The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization.

    Volume (Year): 26 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (April)
    Pages: 115-143

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:26:y:2010:i:1:p:115-143

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    Cited by:
    1. Kvaløy, Ola & Olsen, Trond E., 2010. "Incentive provision when contracting is costly," Discussion Papers 2010/10, Department of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics.
    2. Elisabetta Iossa & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2008. "Contracts as Threats: on a Rationale For Rewarding A while Hoping For B," EIEF Working Papers Series 1022, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Dec 2010.
    3. David Martimort & Aggey Semenov & Lars Stole, 2013. "A Theory of Contracts with Limited Enforcement," Working Papers E1304E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
    4. Decio Coviello & Luigi Moretti & Giancarlo Spagnolo & Paola Valbonesi, 2013. "Court Efficiency and Procurement Performance," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0164, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".

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