IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Renegotiation of Sales Contracts


  • Matthews, Steven A


This paper studies moral hazard contracts that may be renegotiated after an agent chooses an unobservable effort. Unlike in previous models, a contract contains just one scheme and the agent has the renegotiation bargaining power. All equilibria satisfying a weak forward-induction refinement are shown to be (second-best) efficient. Renegotiation necessarily occurs. If the effort set is rich, the initial contract must be a sales contract 'selling the project' to the agent. Thus, a party (the principal) who has an inherently weak renegotiation position should sometimes insist on a simple initial contract. Copyright 1995 by The Econometric Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthews, Steven A, 1995. "Renegotiation of Sales Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(3), pages 567-589, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:63:y:1995:i:3:p:567-89

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to JSTOR subscribers. See for details.

    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

    1. Myerson, Roger B, 1983. "Mechanism Design by an Informed Principal," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1767-1797, November.
    2. Hart, Oliver D & Moore, John, 1988. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 755-785, July.
    3. Rubinstein, Ariel & Wolinsky, Asher, 1992. "Renegotiation-Proof Implementation and Time Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 600-614, June.
    4. Grossman, Sanford J. & Perry, Motty, 1986. "Perfect sequential equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 97-119, June.
    5. Hermalin, Benjamin E & Katz, Michael L, 1991. "Moral Hazard and Verifiability: The Effects of Renegotiation in Agency," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1735-1753, November.
    6. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
    7. repec:crs:wpaper:9302 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1990. "Moral Hazard and Renegotiation in Agency Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1279-1319, November.
    9. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    10. Ching-to Albert Ma, 1991. "Adverse Selection in Dynamic Moral Hazard," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(1), pages 255-275.
    11. Kihlstrom, Richard E. & Matthews, Steven A., 1990. "Managerial incentives in an entrepreneurial stock market model," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 57-79, March.
    12. Huberman, Gur & Kahn, Charles M, 1988. "Limited Contract Enforcement and Strategic Renegotiation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 471-484, June.
    13. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 257-282, March.
    14. Tai-Yeong Chung, 1991. "Incomplete Contracts, Specific Investments, and Risk Sharing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(5), pages 1031-1042.
    15. White, Michelle J, 1989. "The Corporate Bankruptcy Decision," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 129-151, Spring.
    16. Farrell Joseph, 1993. "Meaning and Credibility in Cheap-Talk Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 514-531, October.
    17. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221.
    18. Milgrom, Paul & Stokey, Nancy, 1982. "Information, trade and common knowledge," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 17-27, February.
    19. Allen, Franklin & Gale, Douglas, 1992. "Measurement Distortion and Missing Contingencies in Optimal Contracts," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
    20. Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1990. "Performance Pay and Top-Management Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 225-264, April.
    21. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1992. "The Principal-Agent Relationship with an Informed Principal, II: Common Values," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 1-42, January.
    22. Ben-Porath, Elchanan & Dekel, Eddie, 1992. "Signaling future actions and the potential for sacrifice," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 36-51.
    23. Kohlberg, Elon & Mertens, Jean-Francois, 1986. "On the Strategic Stability of Equilibria," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1003-1037, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Anderlini, Luca & Felli, Leonardo, 1998. "Describability and agency problems," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 35-59, January.
    2. Matthews, Steven A., 2001. "Renegotiating Moral Hazard Contracts under Limited Liability and Monotonicity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 1-29, March.
    3. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Legros & Steven A. Matthews, 2003. "Moral Hazard and Capital Structure Dynamics," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(4), pages 890-930, June.
    4. Gul, Faruk, 2001. "Unobservable Investment and the Hold-Up Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 343-376, March.
    5. Osano, Hiroshi & Kobayashi, Mami, 2005. "Double moral hazard and renegotiation," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(4), pages 345-364, December.
    6. Ching-mann Huang & Len-kuo Hu & Hsin-Hong Kang, 2005. "Compensation Design and Career Concerns of Fund Manager," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 379-397, June.
    7. De Fraja, Gianni, 1999. "After You Sir. Hold-Up, Direct Externalities, and Sequential Investment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 22-39, January.
    8. R. Amit & Parthasarathy Ramachandran, 2010. "A Fair Contract for Managing Water Scarcity," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 24(6), pages 1195-1209, April.
    9. Susanne Ohlendorf & Patrick W. Schmitz, 2012. "Repeated Moral Hazard And Contracts With Memory: The Case Of Risk‐Neutrality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(2), pages 433-452, May.
    10. Patrick W. Schmitz, 2005. "Should Contractual Clauses that Forbid Renegotiation Always be Enforced?," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 315-329, October.
    11. Ohlendorf, Susanne & Schmitz, Patrick W, 2008. "Repeated Moral Hazard, Limited Liability, and Renegotiation," CEPR Discussion Papers 6725, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton & Jean Tirole, 2004. "Exit Options in Corporate Finance: Liquidity versus Incentives," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 8(3), pages 327-353.
    13. Francesco Squintani, 1999. "Moral Hazard," Discussion Papers 1269, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    14. Patrick W. Schmitz, 2005. "Should Contractual Clauses that Forbid Renegotiation Always be Enforced?," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 315-329, October.
    15. Bijapur, Mohan, 2011. "Moral hazard and renegotiation of multi-signal contracts," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 56619, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. Steven Matthews, 2002. "Moral Hazard and Capital Structure Dynamics (joint with Mathias Dewatripont and Patrick Legros) Note the special time," Theory workshop papers 357966000000000095, UCLA Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games


    Access and download statistics


    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:ecm:emetrp:v:63:y:1995:i:3:p:567-89. 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: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    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.