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Human Capital and Self-Enforcing Contracts

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  • Azariadis, Costas

Abstract

This essay analyzes labor contracts as a device for rearranging factor incomes over time under conditions of extreme adverse selection; in particular, the lack of verifiable public information about future compensation prevents finitely-lived workers from borrowing against their earnings. Specific human capital is used as an incentive to implement intertemporal self-enforcing contracts between workers and firms. After proposing a necessary and sufficient condition for the existence of such contracts, the resulting equilibrium earnings profiles are explored along with the effects of imperfections in the credit market on the way workers choose jobs and allocate time between current production and training. Copyright 1988 by The editors of the Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Azariadis, Costas, 1988. " Human Capital and Self-Enforcing Contracts," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 90(4), pages 507-528.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:90:y:1988:i:4:p:507-28
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 1009-1055.
    2. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 1009-1055.
    3. Camerer, Colin F & Hogarth, Robin M, 1999. "The Effects of Financial Incentives in Experiments: A Review and Capital-Labor-Production Framework," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 7-42, December.
    4. Myagkov, Mikhail & Plott, Charles R, 1997. "Exchange Economies and Loss Exposure: Experiments Exploring Prospect Theory and Competitive Equilibria in Market Environments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 801-828.
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    6. Don L. Coursey & John L. Hovis & William D. Schulze, 1987. "The Disparity Between Willingness to Accept and Willingness to Pay Measures of Value," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 679-690.
    7. Brookshire, David S & Coursey, Don L, 1987. "Measuring the Value of a Public Good: An Empirical Comparison of Elicitation Procedures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 554-566.
    8. John A. List, 2003. "Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 41-71.
    9. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-1348, December.
    10. List, John A., 2004. "Substitutability, experience, and the value disparity: evidence from the marketplace," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, pages 486-509.
    11. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
    12. John A. List, 2004. "Neoclassical Theory Versus Prospect Theory: Evidence from the Marketplace," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(2), pages 615-625, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Luigi Guiso & Luigi Pistaferri & Fabiano Schivardi, 2013. "Credit within the Firm," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(1), pages 211-247.
    2. Ngo Van Long & Antoine Soubeyran & Raphael Soubeyran, 2014. "Knowledge acquisition within an organization: How to retain a knowledge worker using wage profile and non-monotonic knowledge accumulation," CIRANO Working Papers 2014s-32, CIRANO.
    3. David Lagakos & Benjamin Moll & Tommaso Porzio & Nancy Qian, 2012. "Experience Matters: Human Capital and Development Accounting," Working Papers 2012-021, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    4. Atsuko Tanaka, "undated". "Who bears the cost of workers' health-related presenteeism and absenteeism," Working Papers 2016-31, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 10 May 2016.

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