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Insurance and Information: Firms as a Commitment Device

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  • Bovenberg, A Lans
  • Teulings, Coen N

Abstract

We explore the role of firms in insuring risk-averse workers. As a device that allows workers to commit to the delivery of their output, the firm arises endogenously as an alternative to the spot market if workers are sufficiently risk averse and the firm can base incentive payments on good information. Competition, however, may allow the spot market and explicit contracts to crowd out implicit insurance provided by the firm, even though the latter yields higher welfare. We explain why different governance structures coexist in quite homogeneous industries.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3441.

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Date of creation: Jul 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3441

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Keywords: commitment; implicit contracts; insurance; moral hazard; principal agent; shirking;

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  1. Baker, George & Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1994. "Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1125-56, November.
  2. Allen, Douglas W & Lueck, Dean, 1999. "The Role of Risk in Contract Choice," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 704-36, October.
  3. Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Breach of Trust in Hostile Takeovers," NBER Working Papers 2342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  5. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1989. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 447-80, March.
  6. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  7. Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "Ownership, Agency, and Wages: An Examination of Franchising in the Fast Food Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 75-101, February.
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Cited by:
  1. L. Guiso & L. Pistaferri & F. Schivardi, 2010. "Credit within the firm," Working Paper CRENoS 201009, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.

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