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Contracts, Reference Points, and Competition-Behavioral Effects of The Fundamental Transformation

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  • Ernst Fehr
  • Oliver Hart
  • Christian Zehnder

Abstract

In this paper we study the role of incomplete ex ante contracts for ex post trade. Previous experimental evidence indicates that a contract provides a reference point for entitlements when the terms are negotiated in a competitive market. We show that this finding no longer holds when the terms are determined in a non-competitive way. Our results imply that the presence of a "fundamental transformation" (i.e., the transition from a competitive market to a bilateral relationship) is important for a contract to become a reference point. To the best of our knowledge this behavioral aspect of the fundamental transformation has not been shown before. (JEL: C91, D03, D23) (c) 2009 by the European Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04-05)
Pages: 561-572

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:7:y:2009:i:2-3:p:561-572

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Cited by:
  1. Björn Bartling & Manuel Grieder & Christian Zehnder, 2014. "Let the Market Decide: An Experimental Study of Competition and Fairness," CESifo Working Paper Series 4831, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Kohei Daido & Takeshi Murooka, 2011. "Team Incentives and Reference-Dependent Preferences," Discussion Paper Series 70, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised May 2011.
  3. Bartling Björn & Grieder Manuel & Zehnder Christian, 2014. "Let the market decide: an experimental study of competition and fairness," ECON - Working Papers 158, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Hoppe, Eva I. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2009. "Can Contracts Solve the Hold-Up Problem? Experimental Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 7205, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Cappelen, Alexander W. & Hagen, Rune Jansen & Sørensen, Erik Ø. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2012. "DO NON-ENFORCEABLE CONTRACTS MATTER? EVIDENCE FROM AN INTERNATIONAL LAB EXPERIMENT Department," Working Papers in Economics 16/12, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  6. Fehr, Ernst & Hart, Oliver & Zehnder, Christian, 2011. "How Do Informal Agreements and Renegotiation Shape Contractual Reference Points?," IZA Discussion Papers 6095, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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