IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Les fondements incomplets de l’incomplétude : Une revue critique de la théorie des contrats incomplets

  • Chaserant, Camille

    (EconomiX – UMR CNRS 7166, Université du Havre)

Registered author(s):

    The incomplete contract theory sets all the models analyzing the causes and the consequences of contractual incompleteness resting on the standard rationality assumption. An incomplete contract is defined as a contract that does not specify all the relevant contingencies. Inverifiability, i.e. asymmetrical information between parties and courts because of the existence of contractualisation costs, explains incompleteness. This paper presents the main models and arguments of the incomplete contract theory from a critical perspective. I argue that this approach focuses on ideas of renegotiation and incompleteness that are very specific and may be misleading. La théorie des contrats incomplets regroupe l’ensemble des travaux qui modélisent les causes et les conséquences de l’incomplétude contractuelle à partir de l’hypothèse d’une rationalité standard. Elle définit un contrat incomplet comme un contrat ne mentionnant pas certaines contingences susceptibles de se produire durant une transaction. Cette incomplétude s’explique par l’invérifiabilité de ces contingences par un tiers, c.-à-d. par l’existence d’une asymétrie d’information entre les contractants et le tribunal chargé de l’exécution du contrat, due à l’existence de coûts de contractualisation. Si les parties doivent investir en actifs spécifiques, se pose alors le problème du hold up. Cet article présente les principaux modèles et débats qui animent la théorie des contrats incomplets dans une perspective critique. Il semble en effet que les concepts de renégociation et d’incomplétude modélisés par cette approche sont très particuliers et portent à confusion.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://id.erudit.org/iderudit/017518ar
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Société Canadienne de Science Economique in its journal L'Actualité économique.

    Volume (Year): 83 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 2 (juin)
    Pages: 227-253

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:ris:actuec:v:83:y:2007:i:2:p:227-253
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.scse.ca/
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Hermalin, Benjamin E & Katz, Michael L, 1993. "Judicial Modification of Contracts between Sophisticated Parties: A More Complete View of Incomplete Contracts and Their Breach," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 230-55, October.
    2. Rosenkranz, Stephanie & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2003. "Optimal allocation of ownership rights in dynamic R&D alliances," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 153-173, April.
    3. Bolton, Patrick, 1990. "Renegotiation and the dynamics of contract design," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(2-3), pages 303-310, May.
    4. Schmitz, Patrick W, 2001. "The Hold-up Problem and Incomplete Contracts: A Survey of Recent Topics in Contract Theory," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 1-17, January.
    5. Pol Antràs, 2003. "Firms, Contracts, And Trade Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1375-1418, November.
    6. Kirsten Foss & Nicolai Foss, 2001. "Assets, Attributes and Ownership," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 19-37.
    7. Jolls, Christine, 1997. "Contracts as Bilateral Commitments: A New Perspective on Contract Modification," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 203-37, January.
    8. De Fraja, Gianni, 1999. "After You Sir. Hold-Up, Direct Externalities, and Sequential Investment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 22-39, January.
    9. Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Maderner, Nina & Tournas, Yanni, 2002. "Idiosyncratic investments, outside opportunities and the boundaries of the firm," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(8), pages 1119-1141, October.
    10. Jerry R. GREEN & Jean-Jacques LAFFONT, 1994. "Non Verifiability, Costly Renegotiation and Efficiency," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 36, pages 81-95.
    11. Rey, Patrick & Salanie, Bernard, 1990. "Long-term, Short-term and Renegotiation: On the Value of Commitment in Contracting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(3), pages 597-619, May.
    12. 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.
    13. Ugo Pagano & Maria Rossi, 2004. "Incomplete Contracts, Intellectual Property and Institutional Complementarities," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 55-76, July.
    14. Eric Maskin & John Moore, 1999. "Implementation and Renegotiation," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1863, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    15. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    16. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, June.
    17. Mathias Dewatripont & Philippe Aghion & Patrick Rey, 1994. "Renegotiation design with unverifiable information," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9591, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    18. Edlin, Aaron S & Reichelstein, Stefan, 1996. "Holdups, Standard Breach Remedies, and Optimal Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 478-501, June.
    19. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    20. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817, March.
    21. Grubb, Farley, 2000. "The Statutory Regulation of Colonial Servitude: An Incomplete-Contract Approach," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 42-75, January.
    22. Nakamura, M. & Xie, J., 1998. "Nonverifiability, noncontractibility and ownership determination models in foreign direct investment, with an application to foreign operations in Japan," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 571-599, September.
    23. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Multicontract Organization," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 21(3), pages 459-66, August.
    24. Dasgupta, Sudipto & Tao, Zhigang, 1998. "Contractual incompleteness and the optimality of equity joint ventures," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 391-413, December.
    25. Rosenkranz, Stephanie & Schmitz, Patrick W., 1999. "Know-how disclosure and incomplete contracts," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 181-185, May.
    26. Hart, Oliver D, 1988. "Incomplete Contracts and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 119-39, Spring.
    27. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2004. "Agreeing Now to Agree Later: Contracts that Rule Out but do not Rule In," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2032, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    28. Hart, O. & Moore, J., 1991. "A Theory of Debt Based on the Inalienability of Human Capital," Working papers 592, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    29. Schmidt, Klaus M., 1996. "The costs and benefits of privatization: An incomplete contracts approach," Munich Reprints in Economics 19773, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    30. Chung, Tai-Yeong, 1991. "Incomplete Contracts, Specific Investments, and Risk Sharing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(5), pages 1031-42, October.
    31. Chung, Tai-Yeong, 1992. "Efficient investment through renegotiation of simple contracts," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 281-285, November.
    32. Grout, Paul A, 1984. "Investment and Wages in the Absence of Binding Contracts: A Nash Bargining Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 449-60, March.
    33. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Procurement and Renegotiation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 235-59, April.
    34. Ed Nosal, 1992. "Renegotiating Incomplete Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(1), pages 20-28, Spring.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ris:actuec:v:83:y:2007:i:2:p:227-253. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bruce Shearer)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.