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Relational Contracts in Agriculture: Theory and Evidence


  • Jeffrey D. Michler
  • Steven Y. Wu


We appraise the current status of relational contract theory, along with associated empirical studies, with the goal of providing an orientation to the field to economists who may not have expertise in contract theory. We begin with a theoretical discussion focusing mainly on intuition and the usefulness of the theory for conceptualizing applied agricultural contracting problems. We also discuss current theoretical challenges and the current state of empirical research on relational contracts. We conclude by discussing potentially fruitful areas for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey D. Michler & Steven Y. Wu, 2020. "Relational Contracts in Agriculture: Theory and Evidence," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 12(1), pages 111-127, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:anr:reseco:v:12:y:2020:p:111-127
    DOI: 10.1146/annurev-resource-101719-034514

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    Cited by:

    1. Iffat Abbas Abbasi & Hasbullah Ashari & Amin Jan & Ahmad Shabudin Ariffin, 2021. "Contract Farming towards Social Business: A New Paradigm," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(22), pages 1-17, November.
    2. Donkor, Emmanuel & Mbeche, Robert & Mithöfer, Dagmar, 2023. "Strategic business decisions of retailers in the edible insect value chain in Uganda," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association, vol. 26(2), January.
    3. Wu, Steven Y., 2021. "Determinants of Relational Contract Performance: Experimental Evidence," 2021 Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting (Virtual), January 3-5, 2021, San Diego, California 308455, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Piano, Ennio Emanuele & Piano, Clara E., 2021. "Bargaining over beauty: The economics of contracts in Renaissance art markets," SocArXiv 9b6c5, Center for Open Science.
    5. Mohamed Abouaziza, 2022. "Farmer constraints and relational contracts: evidence from agricultural value chains in East Africa," Economics PhD Theses 0122, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.

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