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Contradiction as a form of Contractual Incompleteness

  • Dana Heller
  • Ran Spiegler

A simple model is presented, in which contradictory instructions are viewed as a type of contract incompleteness. The model provides a complexity-based rationale for contradictory instructions. If there are complexity bounds on the contract, there may be an incentive to introduce contradictions, leaving for another agent the task of interpreting them. The optimal amount of contradictions depends on the complexity bound, the conflict of interests with the interpreter and the institutional constraints on his interpretations. In particular, a higher complexity bound may result in a larger amount of contradictions. Copyright � The Author(s). Journal compilation � Royal Economic Society 2008.

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File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2008.02153.x
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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 118 (2008)
Issue (Month): 530 (07)
Pages: 875-888

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:118:y:2008:i:530:p:875-888
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  1. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli & Andrew Postlewaite, 2006. "Should Courts always Enforce what Contracting Parties Write?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1847, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts and Complexity Costs," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 23-50, February.
  3. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-51, November.
  4. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli & Andrew Postlewaite, 2001. "Courts of Law and Unforeseen Contingencies," PIER Working Paper Archive 06-001, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Jan 2006.
  5. 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 233-50, February.
  6. Anderlini, Luca & Felli, Leonardo, 1994. "Incomplete Written Contracts: Undescribable States of Nature," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1085-1124, November.
  7. 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.
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