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Bounded rationality and incomplete contracts

  • Anderlini, Luca
  • Felli, Leonardo

This paper explores the link between boundedly rational behaviour and incomplete contracts. The bounded rationality of the agents in our world is embodied in a constraint that the contracts they write must be algorithmic in nature. We start with a definition of contract incompleteness that seems both appealing and widely applicable. Our first task is then to show that, by itself, the algorithmic nature of contracts is not enough to generate genuinely incomplete contracts in equilibrium. As in Anderlini and Felli (1994), we call this the Approximation Result. We then consider contractual situations in which the complexity costs of a contract are explicitly taken into accoaunt. We consider a broad (axiomatically defined) class of complexity measures and in this framework we show that incomplete contracts obtain in equilibrium. We also extensively discuss some recent literature directly related to the results reported here

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research in Economics.

Volume (Year): 58 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 3-30

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Handle: RePEc:eee:reecon:v:58:y:2004:i:1:p:3-30
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622941

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  1. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1997. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 6274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Anderlini, L. & Felli, L., 1993. "Incomplete Written Contracts: Undescribable States of Nature," Papers 183, Cambridge - Risk, Information & Quantity Signals.
  3. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. P. Battigalli & G. Maggi, 2000. "Imperfect Contracting," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 00s11, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  5. Nabil I. Al-Najjar & Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, 2003. "Undescribable Events," CESifo Working Paper Series 1092, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1985. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," Working papers 367, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Anderlini, Luca & Felli, Leonardo, 1998. "Incomplete Contracts and Complexity Costs," MPRA Paper 28483, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. 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.
  11. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
  12. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1999. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 115-38, January.
  13. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, 1995. "Describability and Agency Problems," Game Theory and Information 9511001, EconWPA, revised 20 Sep 1996.
  14. Segal, Ilya, 1999. "Complexity and Renegotiation: A Foundation for Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 57-82, January.
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