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Contracts and externalities: How things fall apart

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  • Genicot, Garance
  • Ray, Debraj

Abstract

A single principal interacts with several agents, offering them contracts. The crucial assumption of this paper is that the outside-option payoffs of the agents depend positively on how many free agents there are (these are agents who are not under contract). We study how such a principal, unwelcome though he may be, approaches the problem of contract provision to agents when coordination failure among the latter group is explicitly ruled out. Two variants are studied. When the principal cannot re-approach agents, there is a unique equilibrium, in which contract provision is split up into two phases. In phase 1, simultaneous offers at good (though varying)terms are made to a number of agents. In phase 2, offers must be made sequentially, and their values are discontinuously lower: they are close to the very lowest of all the outside options. When the principal can repeatedly approach the same agent, there is a multiplicity of equilibria. In some of these, the agents have the power to force delay. They can hold off the principals overtures temporarily, but they must succumb in finite time. Furthermore, even though the maximal delay does go to infinity as the discount factor approaches one, the (discount-normalized) payoff of the agents must stay below and bounded away from the fully free reservation payoff. It is in this sense that things eventually fall apart as far as the agents are concerned.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Genicot, Garance & Ray, Debraj, 2006. "Contracts and externalities: How things fall apart," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 131(1), pages 71-100, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:131:y:2006:i:1:p:71-100
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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre Dupraz & Karine Latouche & Nadine Turpin, 2007. "Programmes agri-environnementaux en présence d’effets de seuil," Cahiers d'Economie et Sociologie Rurales, INRA Department of Economics, vol. 82, pages 5-32.
    2. James Bland & Nikos Nikiforakis, 2013. "Tacit Coordination in Games with Third-Party Externalities," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_19, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    3. Currarini, Sergio & Marchiori, Carmen & Tavoni, Alessandro, 2016. "Network economics and the environment: insights and perspectives," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 63951, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Bloch, Francis & Gomes, Armando, 2006. "Contracting with externalities and outside options," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, pages 172-201.
    5. Bård Harstad & Torben K. Mideksa, 2017. "Conservation Contracts and Political Regimes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(4), pages 1708-1734.
    6. Currarini, Sergio & Feri, Francesco, 2006. "Delegation versus centralization: The role of externalities," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 112-119, June.
    7. Krasteva, Silvana & Yildirim, Huseyin, 2012. "On the role of confidentiality and deadlines in bilateral negotiations," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 714-730.
    8. Bland, James & Nikiforakis, Nikos, 2015. "Coordination with third-party externalities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 1-15.
    9. Paul Belleflamme & Eric Toulemonde, 2009. "Negative Intra-Group Externalities In Two-Sided Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 245-272, February.
    10. Csorba, Gergely, 2008. "Contracting with asymmetric information in the presence of positive network effects: Screening and divide-and-conquer techniques," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 54-66, March.
    11. Mike Felgenhauer & Hans Grüner, 2007. "Distortionary lobbying," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 181-195, May.
    12. repec:zbw:hohpro:336-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Carsten Helm & Franz Wirl, 2011. "International Environmental Agreements: Incentive Contracts with Multilateral Externalities," Working Papers V-336-11, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2011.
    14. Galasso, Alberto, 2008. "Coordination and bargaining power in contracting with externalities," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 558-570, November.
    15. repec:old:wpaper:336-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Galasso, Alberto, 2010. "Over-confidence may reduce negotiation delay," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 716-733, December.
    17. Harstad, Bård, 2016. "The market for conservation and other hostages," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 124-151.
    18. Sergio Currarini & Carmen Marchiori & Alessandro Tavoni, 2016. "Network Economics and the Environment: Insights and Perspectives," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 65(1), pages 159-189, September.
    19. Göller, Daniel & Hewer, Michael, 2015. "Breakdown in multilateral negotiations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 478-484.

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