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Differential awareness, ambiguity, and incomplete contracts: A model of contractual disputes

Author

Listed:
  • Grant, Simon
  • Kline, J. Jude
  • Quiggin, John

Abstract

We focus on aspects of differential awareness that give rise to contractual disputes. Parties to a contract are boundedly rational as the state space available to them is coarser than the complete state space. Hence, they may disagree as to which state of the world has occurred, and therefore as to what actions are required by the contract. Such disagreement leads to disputes. We show that the agents may prefer simpler less ambiguous contracts when facing potential disputes.

Suggested Citation

  • Grant, Simon & Kline, J. Jude & Quiggin, John, 2012. "Differential awareness, ambiguity, and incomplete contracts: A model of contractual disputes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 494-504.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:82:y:2012:i:2:p:494-504
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2012.02.021
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Heifetz, Aviad & Meier, Martin & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2013. "Dynamic unawareness and rationalizable behavior," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 50-68.
    2. repec:pit:wpaper:378 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Simon Grant & John Quiggin, 2013. "Inductive reasoning about unawareness," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 54(3), pages 717-755, November.
    4. Kim-Sau Chung & Oliver Board, 2007. "Object-Based Unawareness," Working Papers 2007-2, University of Minnesota, Department of Economics, revised 24 Aug 2007.
    5. Heifetz, Aviad & Meier, Martin & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2006. "Interactive unawareness," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 78-94, September.
    6. Sujoy Mukerji & Jean-Marc Tallon, 2001. "Ambiguity Aversion and Incompleteness of Financial Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(4), pages 883-904.
    7. repec:ecl:ucdeco:09-10 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Li, Jing, 2009. "Information structures with unawareness," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 977-993, May.
    9. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114.
    10. Chew Soo Hong & Jacob S. Sagi, 2006. "Event Exchangeability: Probabilistic Sophistication Without Continuity or Monotonicity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(3), pages 771-786, May.
    11. Grant, Simon & Kajii, Atsushi, 1995. "A Cardinal Characterization of the Rubinstein-Safra-Thomson Axiomatic Bargaining Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(5), pages 1241-1249, September.
    12. Mukerji, Sujoy, 1998. "Ambiguity Aversion and Incompleteness of Contractual Form," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1207-1231, December.
    13. Grant, Simon & Kline, J. Jude & Quiggin, John, 2014. "A matter of interpretation: Ambiguous contracts and liquidated damages," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 180-187.
    14. Halpern, Joseph Y. & Rego, Leandro Chaves, 2008. "Interactive unawareness revisited," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 232-262, January.
    15. Ilya Segal, 1999. "Complexity and Renegotiation: A Foundation for Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 57-82.
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    Cited by:

    1. Liu, Zhen, 2016. "Games with incomplete information when players are partially aware of others’ signals," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 58-70.
    2. Feinberg, Yossi, 2012. "Games with Unawareness," Research Papers 2122, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    3. Grant, Simon & Kline, Jeff & Quiggin, John, 2011. "Ambiguous contracts: a syntactic approach," Risk and Sustainable Management Group Working Papers 153052, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
    4. Grant, Simon & Kline, J. Jude & Quiggin, John, 2014. "A matter of interpretation: Ambiguous contracts and liquidated damages," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 180-187.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ambiguity; Bounded rationality; Expected uncertain utility; Incomplete contracts;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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