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Should You Allow Your Employee To Become Your Competitor? On Noncompete Agreements In Employment Contracts

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  • Matthias Kräkel
  • Dirk Sliwka

Abstract

We discuss a principal-agent model in which the principal has the opportunity to include a noncompete agreement in the employment contract. We show that not imposing such an agreement can be beneficial for the principal, as the possibility to leave the firm generates implicit incentives for the agent. The principal prefers to impose such a clause if and only if the value created is sufficiently small relative to the agent's outside option. If the principal can use an option contract for retaining the agent, she will never prefer a strict noncompete agreement. Copyright © (2009) by the Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthias Kräkel & Dirk Sliwka, 2009. "Should You Allow Your Employee To Become Your Competitor? On Noncompete Agreements In Employment Contracts," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 117-141, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:50:y:2009:i:1:p:117-141
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Guido Bünstorf & Christoph Engel & Sven Fischer & Werner Güth, 2013. "Win Shift Lose Stay - An Experimental Test of Non-Compete Clauses," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_17, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    2. Perri Timothy J., 2010. "Garden Leave vs. Covenants Not to Compete," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(2), pages 167-179, August.
    3. Rauch, James E., 2016. "Dynastic entrepreneurship, entry, and non-compete enforcement," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 188-201.
    4. Englmaier, Florian & Muehlheusser, Gerd & Roider, Andreas, 2014. "Optimal incentive contracts for knowledge workers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 82-106.
    5. Buenstorf, Guido & Engel, Christoph & Fischer, Sven & Gueth, Werner, 2016. "Non-compete clauses, employee effort and spin-off entrepreneurship: A laboratory experiment," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 2113-2124.
    6. Burhop, Carsten & Lübbers, Thorsten, 2010. "Incentives and innovation? R&D management in Germany's chemical and electrical engineering industries around 1900," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 100-111, January.
    7. Braunerhjelm, Pontus & Ding, Ding & Thulin, Per, 2015. "Does Labour Mobility Foster Innovation? Evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 403, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.

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