Explicit versus Implicit Contracts for Dividing the Benefits of Cooperation
AbstractExperimental evidence has accumulated highlighting the limitations of formal and explicit contracts in certain situations, and has identified environments in which informal and implicit contracts are more efficient. This paper documents the superior performance of explicit over implicit contracts in a new partnership environment in which both contracting parties must incur effort to generate a joint surplus, and one (“strong”) agent controls the surplus division. In the treatment in which the strong agent makes a non-binding, cheap talk “bonus” offer to the weak agent, this unenforceable promise doubles the rate of joint high effort compared to a baseline with no promise. The strong agents most frequently offered to split the gains of the high effort equally, but actually delivered this amount only about onequarter of the time. An explicit and enforceable contract offer performs substantially better, increasing the frequency of the most efficient outcome by over 200 percent relative to the baseline.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Purdue University, Department of Economics in its series Purdue University Economics Working Papers with number 1270.
Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Experiments; laboratory; social preferences; inequity aversion; reciprocity; trust.;
Other versions of this item:
- Casari, Marco & Cason, Timothy N., 2013. "Explicit versus implicit contracts for dividing the benefits of cooperation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 20-34.
- C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics; Underlying Principles
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-04-23 (All new papers)
- NEP-BEC-2012-04-23 (Business Economics)
- NEP-CBE-2012-04-23 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-CTA-2012-04-23 (Contract Theory & Applications)
- NEP-EVO-2012-04-23 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2012-04-23 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-GTH-2012-04-23 (Game Theory)
- NEP-HRM-2012-04-23 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
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.:
- Uri Gneezy & John List, 2006.
"Putting behavioral economics to work: Testing for gift exchange in labor markets using field experiments,"
Natural Field Experiments
00259, The Field Experiments Website.
- Uri Gneezy & John A List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1365-1384, 09.
- Uri Gneezy & John A. List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 12063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Avner Ben-Ner & Louis Putterman, .
"Trust, Communication and Contracts: An Experiment,"
0206, Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus).
- Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004.
Artefactual Field Experiments
00058, The Field Experiments Website.
- Blanco, Mariana & Engelmann, Dirk & Koch, Alexander K. & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2009. "Preferences and Beliefs in a Sequential Social Dilemma: A Within-Subjects Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 4624, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Gary Charness & Guillaume R. Frechette & John H. Kagel, 2004.
"How Robust is Laboratory Gift Exchange?,"
Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 189-205, 06.
- Charness, Gary & Frechette, Guillaume R & Kagel, John H, 2002. "How Robust is Laboratory Gift Exchange?," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt8qq4k3ph, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
- Ondrej Rydval & Andreas Ortmann, 2004.
"Loss avoidance as selection principle: evidence from simple stag-hunt games,"
CERGE-EI Working Papers
wp245, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
- Rydval, Ondrej & Ortmann, Andreas, 2005. "Loss avoidance as selection principle: Evidence from simple stag-hunt games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 101-107, July.
- Bahry, Donna L. & Wilson, Rick K., 2006. "Confusion or fairness in the field? Rejections in the ultimatum game under the strategy method," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 37-54, May.
- Eckel, Catherine C. & Wilson, Rick K., 2004. "Is trust a risky decision?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 447-465, December.
- Casari, Marco & Cason, Timothy N., 2009. "The strategy method lowers measured trustworthy behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(3), pages 157-159, June.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Krannert PHD).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.