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Contracts as Rent Seeking Devices: Evidence from German Soccer

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  • Feess, Eberhard

    ()
    (Frankfurt School of Finance and Management)

  • Gerfin, Michael

    ()
    (University of Bern)

  • Muehlheusser, Gerd

    ()
    (University of Hamburg)

Abstract

Recent theoretical research has identified many ways how contracts can be used as rent seeking devices vis-à-vis third parties, but there is no empirical evidence on this issue so far. To test some basic qualitative properties of this literature, we develop a theoretical and empirical framework in the context of European professional soccer where (incumbent) clubs and players sign binding contracts which are, however, frequently renegotiated when other clubs (entrants) want to hire the player. Because they weaken entrants in renegotiations, long term contracts are useful rent seeking devices for the contracting parties. From a social point of view, however, they lead to allocative distortions in the form of deterring efficient transfers. Since incumbent clubs tend to benefit more from long term contracts in renegotiations than players, these must be compensated ex ante by a higher wage when agreeing to a long term contract. Using data from the German "Bundesliga", our model predictions are broadly confirmed. In particular, our analysis supports the concerns expressed in the theoretical literature about detrimental effects of strategic contracting on allocative inefficiency.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3834.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3834

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Related research

Keywords: strategic contracting; rent seeking; empirical contract theory; long-term contracts; breach of contract; sports economics;

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  1. Hart, Oliver D & Moore, John, 1988. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 755-85, July.
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  3. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 70, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Oriol Carbonell-Nicolau & Diego Comin, 2005. "Testing Out Contractual Incompleteness: Evidence from Soccer," Departmental Working Papers 200501, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
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  10. François Bourguignon & Martin Fournier & Marc Gurgand, 2007. "Selection Bias Corrections Based On The Multinomial Logit Model: Monte Carlo Comparisons," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 174-205, 02.
  11. Ilya Segal & Michael D. Whinston, 2000. "Exclusive Contracts and Protection of Investments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 603-633, Winter.
  12. Lee, Lung-Fei, 1983. "Generalized Econometric Models with Selectivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(2), pages 507-12, March.
  13. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1987. "Contracts as a Barrier to Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 388-401, June.
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