IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aecrev/v99y2009i5p2193-2208.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Endogenous Verifiability and Relational Contracting

Author

Listed:
  • Ola Kvaløy
  • Trond E. Olsen

Abstract

Principal-agent models usually invoke the strong assumption that the parties know for sure ex ante whether a variable is verifiable or not. This paper assumes that only the probability of verification is known, and that this probability is endogenously determined. We analyze a principal-agent relationship where the verifiability of the agent's output is determined by the principal's investment in drafting an explicit contract. The model is well suited for analyzing the relationship between explicit contracting, legal courts, trust, and relational contracting. In particular, we show how trust -- established through repeated interaction -- and legal courts may induce contractual incompleteness. (JEL D82, D86)

Suggested Citation

  • Ola Kvaløy & Trond E. Olsen, 2009. "Endogenous Verifiability and Relational Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2193-2208, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:5:p:2193-2208
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.5.2193
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.99.5.2193
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bull, Jesse & Watson, Joel, 2004. "Evidence disclosure and verifiability," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 1-31, September.
    2. Jean Tirole, 2009. "Cognition and Incomplete Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 265-294, March.
    3. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1998. "Incomplete Contracts and Strategic Ambiguity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 902-932, September.
    4. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 2002. "Relational Contracts and the Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 39-84.
    5. Bajari, Patrick & Tadelis, Steven, 2001. "Incentives versus Transaction Costs: A Theory of Procurement Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 387-407, Autumn.
    6. Hermalin, Benjamin E. & Katz, Avery W. & Craswell, Richard, 2007. "Contract Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
    7. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-1158, December.
    8. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Giovanni Maggi, 2008. "Costly contracting in a long-term relationship," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 352-377.
    9. Clive Bull, 1987. "The Existence of Self-Enforcing Implicit Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(1), pages 147-159.
    10. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    11. Yeon-Koo Che & Tai-Yeong Chung, 1999. "Contract Damages and Cooperative Investments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(1), pages 84-105, Spring.
    12. Jonathan Levin, 2003. "Relational Incentive Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 835-857, June.
    13. William P. Rogerson, 1984. "Efficient Reliance and Damage Measures for Breach of Contract," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 39-53, Spring.
    14. Schmidt, Klaus M. & Schnitzer, Monika, 1995. "The interaction of explicit and implicit contracts," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 193-199, May.
    15. Benjamin E. Hermalin, 2008. "Vague Terms: Contracting when Precision in Terms is Infeasible," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 164(1), pages 76-94, March.
    16. Simon Johnson & John McMillan, 2002. "Courts and Relational Contracts," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 221-277, April.
    17. Dye, Ronald A, 1985. "Costly Contract Contingencies," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(1), pages 233-250, February.
    18. W. Bentley MacLeod, 2007. "Reputations, Relationships, and Contract Enforcement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 595-628, September.
    19. Frey, Bruno S, 1997. "A Constitution for Knaves Crowds Out Civic Virtues," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1043-1053, July.
    20. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2000. "Reputation Effects and the Limits of Contracting: A Study of the Indian Software Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 989-1017.
    21. Boot, Arnoud W A & Greenbaum, Stuart I & Thakor, Anjan V, 1993. "Reputation and Discretion in Financial Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1165-1183, December.
    22. Harvey James, 2002. "The Trust Paradox: A Survey of Economic Inquiries Into the Nature of Trust and Trustworthiness," Microeconomics 0202001, EconWPA.
    23. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1989. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 447-480, March.
    24. Steven Shavell, 1980. "Damage Measures for Breach of Contract," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(2), pages 466-490, Autumn.
    25. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts and Complexity Costs," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 23-50, February.
    26. Scott, Robert E, 1990. "A Relational Theory of Default Rules for Commercial Contracts," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 597-616, June.
    27. Alan Schwartz & Joel Watson, "undated". "The Law and Economics of Costly Contracting," Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy Working Paper Series yale_lepp-1004, Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy.
    28. Ishiguro, Shingo, 2002. "Endogenous Verifiability and Optimality in Agency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 518-530, August.
    29. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1994. "Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1125-1156.
    30. Casadesus-Masanell, Ramon & Spulber, Daniel F, 2000. "The Fable of Fisher Body," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 67-104, April.
    31. Stefan Krasa & Anne P. Villamil, 2000. "Optimal Contracts when Enforcement Is a Decision Variable," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(1), pages 119-134, January.
    32. Joel Sobel, 2006. "For Better or Forever: Formal versus Informal Enforcement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 271-298, April.
    33. Freeland, Robert F, 2000. "Creating Holdup through Vertical Integration: Fisher Body Revisited," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 33-66, April.
    34. Klein, Benjamin, 2000. "Fisher-General Motors and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 105-141, April.
    35. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
    36. Townsend, Robert M., 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 265-293, October.
    37. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, "undated". "Do Incentive Contracts Crowd out Voluntary Cooperation?," IEW - Working Papers 034, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    38. Pearce, David G. & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1998. "The Interaction of Implicit and Explicit Contracts in Repeated Agency," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 75-96, April.
    39. Alan Schwartz, 2004. "The Law and Economics of Costly Contracting," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 2-31, April.
    40. Steven Shavell, 2006. "On the Writing and the Interpretation of Contracts," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(2), pages 289-314, October.
    41. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Giovanni Maggi, 2002. "Rigidity, Discretion, and the Costs of Writing Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 798-817, September.
    42. Edlin, Aaron S & Reichelstein, Stefan, 1996. "Holdups, Standard Breach Remedies, and Optimal Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 478-501, June.
    43. James Jr., Harvey S., 2002. "The trust paradox: a survey of economic inquiries into the nature of trust and trustworthiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 291-307, March.
    44. Coase, R H, 2000. "The Acquisition of Fisher Body by General Motors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 15-31, April.
    45. Schwartz, Alan, 1992. "Relational Contracts in the Courts: An Analysis of Incomplete Agreements and Judicial Strategies," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 271-318, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Matthias Lang, 2012. "Communicating Subjective Evaluations," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2012_14, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Apr 2018.
    2. Sloof, Randolph & Sonnemans, Joep, 2011. "The interaction between explicit and relational incentives: An experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 573-594.
    3. 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.
    4. David Martimort & Aggey Semenov & Lars Stole, 2017. "A Theory of Contracts with Limited Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 816-852.
    5. Engelseth, Per, 2016. "Aligning end-to-end seafood supply through a series of markets," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 173(C), pages 99-110.
    6. Chen, Bo, 2012. "All-or-nothing payments," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 133-142.
    7. Hideshi Itoh & Hodaka Morita, 2015. "Formal Contracts, Relational Contracts, and the Threat-Point Effect," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 318-346, August.
    8. 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.
    9. Panu Poutvaara & Tuomas Takalo & Andreas Wagener, 2017. "The Optimal Duration of Contracts," CESifo Working Paper Series 6808, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Fabrice Lumineau & Bertrand Quélin, 2012. "An empirical investigation of interorganizational opportunism and contracting mechanisms," Post-Print hal-00668599, HAL.
    11. Kvaløy, Ola & Olsen, Trond E., 2015. "The tenuous relationship between effort and performance pay," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 32-39.
    12. Kukharskyy, Bohdan, 2015. "Relational contracts and global sourcing," University of Tuebingen Working Papers in Economics and Finance 83, University of Tuebingen, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.
    13. 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.
    14. Hyytinen, Ari & Steen, Frode & Toivanen, Otto, 2012. "Anatomy of Cartel Contracts," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 25/2012, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics.
    15. Giacomo Calzolari & Leonardo Felli & Johannes Koenen & Giancarlo Spagnolo & Konrad O. Stahl, 2015. "Trust, Competition and Innovation: Theory and Evidence from German Car Manufacturers," CESifo Working Paper Series 5229, CESifo Group Munich.
    16. Ola Kvaløy & Trond E. Olsen, 2016. "Incentive Provision when Contracting is Costly," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(332), pages 741-767, October.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. James M. Malcomson, 2012. "Relational Incentive Contracts," Introductory Chapters,in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.), The Handbook of Organizational Economics Princeton University Press.
    21. 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.
    22. Bohdan Kukharskyy, 2012. "Quality of Institutions, Global Sourcing, and the Make-or-Buy Decision," Working Papers 128, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    23. Erkal, Nisvan & Wu, Steven Y. & Roe, Brian E., 2014. "Strategic Incomplete Contracts: Theory and Experiments," IZA Discussion Papers 8704, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    24. Bohdan Kukharskyy & Michael Pflüger, 2011. "Relational Contracts and the Economic Well-Being of Nations," Working Papers 095, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:5:p:2193-2208. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.