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Contracts as Threats: on a Rationale For Rewarding A while Hoping For B

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Abstract

In this paper we explore theoretically the relationship between explicit and implicit/relational contracting distinguishing between the ex-ante decision to sign an explicit contract and the ex-post decision wheter to actually apply it. We show, among other things, that the relational efficient explicit contract tends to display overcontracting on tasks or qualitative requirements (A) that are verifiable but apparently of little use for the principal. The ex-post (non) implementation of such explicit contract can then be discretionally exchanged against the provision of non contractible tasks (B) that are highly valuable for the principal. An empirical implication of the result, consistent with casual observation in procurement, is that penalties for infringements established by explicit contracts are seldom exercised, even though violations take place and are easy to monitor and verify.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tor Vergata University, CEIS in its series CEIS Research Paper with number 147.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 30 Sep 2009
Date of revision: 30 Sep 2009
Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:147

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Postal: CEIS - Centre for Economic and International Studies - Faculty of Economics - University of Rome "Tor Vergata" - Via Columbia, 2 00133 Roma
Phone: +390672595601
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Web page: http://www.ceistorvergata.it
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Postal: CEIS - Centre for Economic and International Studies - Faculty of Economics - University of Rome "Tor Vergata" - Via Columbia, 2 00133 Roma
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Web: http://www.ceistorvergata.it

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Keywords: Implicit contracts; incomplete contracts; repeated games;

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Cited by:
  1. James M. Malcomson, 2012. "Relational Incentive Contracts
    [The Handbook of Organizational Economics]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  2. David Martimort & Aggey Semenov & Lars Stole, 2013. "A Theory of Contracts with Limited Enforcement," Working Papers E1304E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  3. Sergio Vergalli & Chiara D’Alpaos & Michele Moretto & Paola Valbonesi, 2009. ""It Is Never too late": Optimal Penalty for Investment Delay in Public Procurement Contracts," Working Papers 2009.78, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  4. Jeffrey V. Butler & Enrica Carbone & Pierluigi Conzo & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2012. "Reputation and Entry," EIEF Working Papers Series 1215, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Nov 2012.
  5. Anita Kopanyi-Peuker & Theo Offerman & Randolph Sloof, 2012. "Fostering Cooperation through the Enhancement of Own Vulnerability," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-132/I, Tinbergen Institute.

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