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Undescribable Events

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  • Nabil I. Al-Najjar
  • Luca Anderlini
  • Leonardo Felli

Abstract

We develop a model of undescribable events. Examples of events that are well understood by economic agents but are prohibitively difficult to describe in advance abound in real life. This notion has also pervaded a substantial amount of economic literature. Undescribable events in our model are understood by economic agents—their consequences and probabilities are known—but are such that every finite description of such events necessarily leaves out relevant features that have a non-negligible impact on the parties' expected utilities. We illustrate our results using a simple coinsurance problem as a backdrop. When the only uncertainty faced by the two agents is an undescribable event the optimal finite coinsurance contract is no contract at all. Copyright 2006, Wiley-Blackwell.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2006.00399.x
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 73 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 849-868

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:73:y:2006:i:4:p:849-868

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References

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Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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  1. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1998. "Power In A Theory Of The Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 387-432, May.
  2. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 95-8, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Luca Anderlini, Leonardo Felli & Andrew Postlewaite, 2003. "Courts of Law and Unforeseen Contingencies," Working Papers gueconwpa~03-03-26, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  4. Dekel, Eddie & Lipman, Barton L. & Rustichini, Aldo, 1998. "Recent developments in modeling unforeseen contingencies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 523-542, May.
  5. Al-Najjar, Nabil I. & Anderlini, Luca & Felli, Leonardo, 2002. "Unforeseen Contingencies," CEPR Discussion Papers 3271, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Giovanni Maggi, 2002. "Rigidity, Discretion, and the Costs of Writing Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 798-817, September.
  7. Partha Dasgupta & Douglas Gale & Oliver Hart & Eric Maskin (ed.), 1992. "Economic Analysis of Markets and Games: Essays in Honor of Frank Hahn," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262541599, December.
  8. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
  9. Segal, Ilya, 1999. "Complexity and Renegotiation: A Foundation for Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 57-82, January.
  10. Anderlini, L. & Felli, L., 1993. "Incomplete Written Contracts: Undescribable States of Nature," Papers 183, Cambridge - Risk, Information & Quantity Signals.
  11. Mark Machina, 2004. "Almost-objective uncertainty," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 1-54, 07.
  12. Al-Najjar, Nabil I. & Casadesus-Masanell, Ramon & Ozdenoren, Emre, 2003. "Probabilistic representation of complexity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 111(1), pages 49-87, July.
  13. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Anderlini, Luca & Felli, Leonardo & Postlewaite, Andrew, 2001. "Courts of Law and Unforeseen Contingencies," CEPR Discussion Papers 2835, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Sarah Auster, 2011. "Asymmetric Awareness and Moral Hazard," Economics Working Papers ECO2011/, European University Institute.
  3. Matthias Lang, 2012. "Communicating Subjective Evaluations," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_14, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Mar 2014.
  4. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, 2000. "Bounded Rationality and Incomplete Contracts," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 407, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  5. Al-Najjar, Nabil I., 2008. "Large games and the law of large numbers," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 1-34, September.
  6. Kumabe, Masahiro & Mihara, H. Reiju, 2006. "Computability of simple games: A complete investigation of the sixty-four possibilities," MPRA Paper 440, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. David A. Miller & Kareen Rozen, 2011. "Optimally Empty Promises and Endogenous Supervision," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1823, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jun 2012.

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