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Endogenous Verifiability in Relational Contracting

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  • Kvaløy, Ola

    ()
    (Norsk hotellhøgskole, Institutt for økonomi og ledelse, University of Stavanger)

  • Olsen, Trond E.

    ()
    (Dept. of Finance and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

Abstract

We analyze a repeated principal-agent trust game where the principal makes a specific investment by paying the agent up-front, expecting an agreed upon quality level in return. The verifiability of the agent’s action is endogenously determined by the principal’s investment in writing an explicit contract. Since verification is not certain, explicit contracting is insufficient, and the parties must engage in relational (implicit) contracting. First, we analyze how variations in trust (the discount factor) affect the contract equilibrium. Interestingly, we find that more trust may lead to lower levels of specific investments. This occurs when the surplus from trust is realized mainly through lower explicit contract costs. Second, we extend the literature on the interaction between explicit and relational governance by analyzing how variations in verification technology affect contract equilibrium. Since verification technology determines the cost necessary to achieve a given probability of verification, this analysis can also explain interesting aspects of legal systems.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 2004/20.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 29 Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhhfms:2004_020

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Postal: NHH, Department of Business and Management Science, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
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Fax: +47 55 95 96 50
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Web page: http://www.nhh.no/en/research-faculty/department-of-business-and-management-science.aspx
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Keywords: Trust; Relationship Specific Investments; Relational Contracts; Endogenous Verifiability;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. James Malcomson, 2010. "Relational Incentive Contracts," Economics Series Working Papers 508, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Jean Beuve & Stéphane Saussier, 2012. "Interfirm cooperation in strategic relationships: the role of formal contract," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(4), pages 811-836, August.
  4. Michael D. Ryall & Rachelle C. Sampson, 2009. "Formal Contracts in the Presence of Relational Enforcement Mechanisms: Evidence from Technology Development Projects," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(6), pages 906-925, June.
  5. Randolph Sloof & Joep Sonnemans, 2009. "The Interaction between Explicit and Relational Incentives: An Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-030/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  6. Martimort, David & Semenov, Aggey & Stole, Lars, 2014. "A Theory of Contracts With Limited Enforcement," MPRA Paper 53504, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Hideshi Itoh & Hodaka Morita, 2011. "Formal Contracts, Relational Contracts, and the Threat-Point Effect," CESifo Working Paper Series 3533, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Hyytinen, Ari & Steen, Frode & Toivanen, Otto, 2013. "Anatomy of Cartel Contracts," CEPR Discussion Papers 9362, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Kvaløy, Ola & Olsen, Trond, 2012. "Incentive provision when contracting is costly," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2012/16, University of Stavanger.
  10. David A. Miller & Joel Watson, 2013. "A Theory of Disagreement in Repeated Games With Bargaining," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(6), pages 2303-2350, November.
  11. Hermalin, Benjamin E. & Li, Larry & Naughton, Tony, 2013. "The relational underpinnings of formal contracting and the welfare consequences of legal system improvement," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 72-76.
  12. Chen, Bo, 2012. "All-or-nothing payments," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 133-142.
  13. Lumineau, Fabrice & Quelin, Bertrand, 2012. "An Empirical Investigation of Interorganizational Opportunism and Contracting Mechanisms," MPRA Paper 38362, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Manuel Willington & Roy Costilla, 2007. "Endogenous Verifiability and Optimality in Agency: A non-contingent approach," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv189, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
  15. Tore Ellingsen & Eirik Gaard Kristiansen, 2011. "Financial Contracting Under Imperfect Enforcement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 323-371.
  16. Wu, Steven Y., 2013. "Adapting Contract Theory to Fit Contract Farming," 2014 Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 3-5, 2014, Philadelphia, PA 161894, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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