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Incomplete Contracting: A Laboratory Experimental Analysis


  • Hackett, Steven C


Incomplete contracts are motivated by difficulties in specifying contingent responses to unforeseen change in long-term trading relationships. The issues can be parsimoniously represented. in a two-period model. Parties first make transaction-specific investme nt that enhances value or reduces cost. Surplus is then realized, and bargaining divides the surplus and completes the contract. The testa ble hypothesis is that realized surplus shares are independent of sunk investments. This is strongly rejected using laboratory experimental methods. Failure of the prediction affects the expected profitabilit y of contracts. Copyright 1993 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Hackett, Steven C, 1993. "Incomplete Contracting: A Laboratory Experimental Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 274-297, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:31:y:1993:i:2:p:274-97

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eckbo, B. Espen, 1983. "Horizontal mergers, collusion, and stockholder wealth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-4), pages 241-273, April.
    2. Ordover, Janusz A & Saloner, Garth & Salop, Steven C, 1990. "Equilibrium Vertical Foreclosure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 127-142, March.
    3. Michael A. Salinger, 1988. "Vertical Mergers and Market Foreclosure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(2), pages 345-356.
    4. Jensen, Michael C. & Ruback, Richard S., 1983. "The market for corporate control : The scientific evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-4), pages 5-50, April.
    5. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
    6. Allen, Bruce T, 1971. "Vertical Integration and Market Foreclosure: The Case of Cement and Concrete," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 251-274, April.
    7. Dodd, Peter, 1980. "Merger proposals, management discretion and stockholder wealth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 105-137, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hoppe, Eva I. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2011. "Can contracts solve the hold-up problem? Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 186-199, September.
    2. Mathias Erlei & Wiebke Roß, 2013. "Bounded Rationality as an Essential Component of the Holdup Problem," TUC Working Papers in Economics 0009, Abteilung für Volkswirtschaftslehre, Technische Universität Clausthal (Department of Economics, Technical University Clausthal).
    3. Wichardt, Philipp C. & Schunk, Daniel & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2009. "Participation costs for responders can reduce rejection rates in ultimatum bargaining," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 33-35, April.
    4. repec:eee:gamebe:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:706-725 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Kusterer, David J. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2017. "The management of innovation: Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 706-725.
    6. Jongwook Kim & Joseph T. Mahoney, 2005. "Property rights theory, transaction costs theory, and agency theory: an organizational economics approach to strategic management," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 223-242.
    7. Rodriguez-Lara, Ismael, 2016. "Equity and bargaining power in ultimatum games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 144-165.
    8. Randolph Sloof, 2003. "Price-setting Power versus Private Information," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-099/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    9. L. Bagnoli & G. Negroni, 2012. "On the coevolution of social norms in primitive societies," Working Papers wp858, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    10. Agnes Bäker & Werner Güth & Kerstin Pull & Manfred Stadler, 2014. "Entitlement and the efficiency-equality trade-off: an experimental study," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 76(2), pages 225-240, February.
    11. Vital Anderhub & Simon Gächter & Manfred Königstein, 2002. "Efficient Contracting and Fair Play in a Simple Principal-Agent Experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 5(1), pages 5-27, June.
    12. Irlenbusch, Bernd, 2004. "Relying on a man's word?: An experimental study on non-binding contracts," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 299-332, September.
    13. Arshad Ali Javed & Patrick T.I. Lam & Albert P.C. Chan, 2014. "Change negotiation in public-private partnership projects through output specifications: an experimental approach based on game theory," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(4), pages 323-348, April.
    14. Thomas Ehrmann & Karl-Hans Hartwig & Torsten Marner & Hendrik Schmale, 2009. "Specific Investments and Ownership Structures in Railways – An Experimental Analysis," Working Papers 12, Institute of Transport Economics, University of Muenster.
    15. Mathias Erlei & J. Philipp Siemer, 2014. "Endogenous Property Rights in a Hold-up Experiment," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 237-270, May.
    16. Sloof, Randolph, 2008. "Price-setting power vs. private information: An experimental evaluation of their impact on holdup," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 469-486, April.
    17. repec:spr:jeicoo:v:12:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11403-016-0180-1 is not listed on IDEAS

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