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Partnership in a Dynamic Production System with Unobservable Actions and Noncontractible Output

Listed author(s):
  • Erica L. Plambeck

    ()

    (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305)

  • Terry A. Taylor

    ()

    (Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027, and Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755)

Registered author(s):

    This paper considers two firms that engage in joint production. The prospect of repeated interaction introduces dynamics, in that actions that firms take today influence the costliness and effectiveness of actions in the future. Repeated interaction also facilitates the use of informal agreements (relational contracts) that are sustained not by the court system, but by the ongoing value of the relationship. We characterize the optimal relational contract in this dynamic system with double moral hazard. We show that an optimal relational contract has a simple form that does not depend on the past history. The optimal relational contract may require that the firms terminate their relationship with positive probability following poor performance. We show how process visibility, which allows the firms to better assess who is at fault, can substantially improve system performance. The degree to which process visibility eliminates the need for termination depends on the nature of the dynamics: If the buyer's action does not influence the dynamics, the need for termination is eliminated; otherwise, termination may be required.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1060.0569
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    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 52 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 10 (October)
    Pages: 1509-1527

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:52:y:2006:i:10:p:1509-1527
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    1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    2. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 2002. "Relational Contracts and the Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 39-84.
    3. Rogerson, William P, 1985. "The First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1357-1367, November.
    4. Katherine Doornik, 2006. "Relational Contracting in Partnerships," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 517-548, 06.
    5. Jonathan Levin, 2003. "Relational Incentive Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 835-857, June.
    6. Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 324-340, Autumn.
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    8. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 2001. "Bringing the Market inside the Firm?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 212-218, May.
    9. Abreu, Dilip, 1988. "On the Theory of Infinitely Repeated Games with Discounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 383-396, March.
    10. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David I & Maskin, Eric, 1994. "The Folk Theorem with Imperfect Public Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 997-1039, September.
    11. Abreu, Dilip & Milgrom, Paul & Pearce, David, 1991. "Information and Timing in Repeated Partnerships," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1713-1733, November.
    12. Rey, Patrick & Salanie, Bernard, 1996. "On the Value of Commitment with Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1395-1414, November.
    13. Abreu, Dilip & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1986. "Optimal cartel equilibria with imperfect monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 251-269, June.
    14. Taylor, Curtis R & Wiggins, Steven N, 1997. "Competition or Compensation: Supplier Incentives under the American and Japanese Subcontracting Systems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 598-618, September.
    15. Ananth V. Iyer & Leroy B. Schwarz & Stefanos A. Zenios, 2005. "A Principal-Agent Model for Product Specification and Production," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(1), pages 106-119, January.
    16. Jeffrey H Dyer & Wujin Chu, 2000. "The Determinants of Trust in Supplier-Automaker Relationships in the U.S., Japan and Korea," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 31(2), pages 259-285, June.
    17. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-641, August.
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