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On the Duration of Agreements

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  • Harris, Milton
  • Holmstrom, Bengt

Abstract

A model of optimal contracts between two infinitely-lived parties, a borrower and lender, is presented and analyzed. The objective is to explain the phenomenon of finite-length, multi-period contracts. It is shown how costly information acquisition can account for multi- period contracts which are of bounded length. Comparative-statics results on how contract length responds to exogenous parameters, such as the cost of information acquisition, are also derived. Copyright 1987 by Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Harris, Milton & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1987. "On the Duration of Agreements," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(2), pages 389-406, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:28:y:1987:i:2:p:389-406
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    Cited by:

    1. Cain, Matthew D. & Denis, David J. & Denis, Diane K., 2011. "Earnouts: A study of financial contracting in acquisition agreements," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 151-170, February.
    2. Ferdinando Colombo & Guido Merzoni, 2008. "For how long to tie your hands? Stable relationships in an unstable environment," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 95(2), pages 93-120, November.
    3. Hsuan-Yu Lin & Chih-Hai Yang, 2016. "Uncertainty, specific investment, and contract duration: evidence from the MLB player market," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 1009-1028, May.
    4. Sergei Guriev & Dmitriy Kvasov, 2005. "Contracting on Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1369-1385, December.
    5. Barcena-Ruiz, Juan Carlos & Campo, Maria Luz, 2000. "Short-term or long-term labor contracts," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 249-260, May.
    6. Danziger, Leif, 1995. "Contract Reopeners," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 62-87, January.
    7. Panu Poutvaara & Tuomas Takalo & Andreas Wagener, 2017. "The Optimal Duration of Contracts," CESifo Working Paper Series 6808, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Leif Danziger & Shoshana Neuman, 2005. "Delays in Renewal of Labor Contracts: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 341-372, April.
    9. Robert Rich & Joseph Tracy, 2013. "Early Contract Renegotiation: An Analysis of US Labor Contracts, 1970-1995," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(4), pages 825-842.
    10. Danziger, Leif, 2008. "Extension of labor contracts and optimal backpay," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 18-36, February.
    11. Danziger, Leif, 2010. "Uniform and nonuniform staggering of wage contracts," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 1038-1049, December.
    12. Robert W. Rich & Joseph Tracy, 2011. "Early contract renegotiation: An analysis of U.S. labor contracts from 1970 to 1995," Staff Reports 521, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    13. Matthew Ellman, 2006. "The optimal length of contracts with application to outsourcing," Economics Working Papers 965, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    14. Oren Bar-Gill & Omri Ben-Shahar, 2004. "The Law of Duress and the Economics of Credible Threats," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 391-430, June.
    15. Kanago, Bryce, 1998. "The Relation between Contract Duration and Inflation Uncertainty: Further Evidence," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 811-819, October.
    16. Titman, Sheridan & Twite, Garry, 2013. "Urban density, law and the duration of real estate leases," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 99-112.
    17. Kennan, John, 1995. "Repeated contract negotiations with private information," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 447-472, November.
    18. Cain, Matthew D. & Denis, David J. & Denis, Diane K., 2011. "Earnouts: A study of financial contracting in acquisition agreements," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 151-170.
    19. Brickley, James A & Misra, Sanjog & Van Horn, R Lawrence, 2006. "Contract Duration: Evidence from Franchising," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(1), pages 173-196, April.
    20. Mohamed Ben Halima, 2005. "The determinants for labour contract length A French micro-econometric study," Post-Print halshs-00180067, HAL.
    21. López-Bayón, Susana & González-Díaz, Manuel, 2010. "Indefinite contract duration: Evidence from electronics subcontracting," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 145-159, June.
    22. Broz, J. Lawrence & Grossman, Richard S., 2004. "Paying for privilege: the political economy of Bank of England charters, 1694-1844," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 48-72, January.
    23. Danziger, Leif, 1995. "Discrete shocks and fixed duration of labor contracts," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 359-379, December.
    24. Baldursson, Fridrik Mar & von der Fehr, Nils-Henrik, 2015. "Natural Resources and Sovereign Expropriation," Memorandum 05/2015, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    25. Colombo, Ferdinando & Merzoni, Guido, 2006. "In praise of rigidity: The bright side of long-term contracts in repeated trust games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 349-373, March.

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