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Managing Conflicts in Relational Contracts

Author

Listed:
  • Jin Li
  • Niko Matouschek

Abstract

A manager and a worker are in an infinitely repeated relationship in which the manager privately observes her opportunity costs of paying the worker. We show that the optimal relational contract generates periodic conflicts during which effort and expected profits decline gradually but recover instantaneously. To manage a conflict, the manager uses a combination of informal promises and formal commitments that evolves with the duration of the conflict. Finally, we show that liquidity constraints limit the manager's ability to manage conflicts but may also induce the worker to respond to a conflict by providing more effort rather than less.

Suggested Citation

  • Jin Li & Niko Matouschek, 2013. "Managing Conflicts in Relational Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2328-2351, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:6:p:2328-51
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.6.2328
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jean Guillaume Forand & Jan Zapal, 2017. "The Demand and Supply of Favours in Dynamic Relationships," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp605, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    2. Englmaier, Florian & Segal, Carmit, 2016. "Morale, Relationships, and Wages: An Experimental Study," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145662, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Ales, Laurence & Maziero, Pricila & Yared, Pierre, 2014. "A theory of political and economic cycles," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 224-251.
    4. Susan Helper & Rebecca Henderson, 2014. "Management Practices, Relational Contracts, and the Decline of General Motors," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(1), pages 49-72, Winter.
    5. Huesca-Pérez, María Elena & Sheinbaum-Pardo, Claudia & Köppel, Johann, 2016. "Social implications of siting wind energy in a disadvantaged region – The case of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 952-965.
    6. Luis Garicano & Luis Rayo, 2016. "Why Organizations Fail: Models and Cases," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(1), pages 137-192, March.
    7. Albano, Gian Luigi & Cesi, Berardino & Iozzi, Alberto, 2017. "Public procurement with unverifiable quality: The case for discriminatory competitive procedures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 14-26.
    8. Jin Li & Niko Matouschek & Michael Powell, 2017. "Power Dynamics in Organizations," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 217-241, February.
    9. Marina Halac & Andrea Prat, 2016. "Managerial Attention and Worker Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 3104-3132, October.
    10. Chen, Jingxian & Liang, Liang & Yang, Feng, 2015. "Cooperative quality investment in outsourcing," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 174-191.
    11. Feng, Zhuo & Zhang, Shui-Bo & Gao, Ying & Zhang, Shuai-Jun, 2016. "Subsidizing and pricing private toll roads with noncontractible service quality: A relational contract approach," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 466-491.
    12. Gerhards, Leonie & Heinz, Matthias, 2017. "In good times and bad – Reciprocal behavior at the workplace in times of economic crises," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 228-239.
    13. repec:eee:jetheo:v:169:y:2017:i:c:p:270-293 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Ebner, Julia, 2015. "The Sino–European race for Africa׳s minerals: When two quarrel a third rejoices," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 112-120.
    15. Chassang, Sylvain & Zehnder, Christian, 2016. "Rewards and punishments: informal contracting through social preferences," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 11(3), September.
    16. Suehyun Kwon, 2016. "Relational contracts in a persistent environment," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 61(1), pages 183-205, January.
    17. Fahn, Matthias & Hadjer, Tahmina, 2015. "Optimal contracting with private military and security companies," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 220-240.
    18. W. Bentley MacLeod & Teck Yong Tan, 2016. "Optimal Contracting with Subjective Evaluation: The Effects of Timing, Malfeasance and Guile," NBER Working Papers 22156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation

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