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Incentive Contracting for National Defense: A Problem of Optimal Risk Sharing


  • J. Michael Cummins


This paper analyzes risk sharing in defense contracting within an insurance framework with moral hazard present. The positive model specifies conditions under which risk sharing between the firm and the government can be expected to occur, and identifies the important exogenous characteristics of the firm that determine the equilibrium set of contract terms. An important public policy implication is derived from a normative comparison between the simple incentive structure currently used in defense contracting and a modified contingent claims arrangement. The latter is shown to be superior in providing desirable risk sharing, while also maintaining appropriate marginal incentives for cost control.

Suggested Citation

  • J. Michael Cummins, 1977. "Incentive Contracting for National Defense: A Problem of Optimal Risk Sharing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 8(1), pages 168-185, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:bellje:v:8:y:1977:i:spring:p:168-185

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edwin Mansfield & John Rapoport & Anthony Romeo & Samuel Wagner & George Beardsley, 1977. "Social and Private Rates of Return from Industrial Innovations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 91(2), pages 221-240.
    2. Mansfield, Edwin, 1980. "Basic Research and Productivity Increase in Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 863-873, December.
    3. Berndt, Ernst R & Christensen, Laurits R, 1974. "Testing for the Existence of a Consistent Aggregate Index of Labor Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 391-404, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Perez-Castrillo, David & Riedinger, Nicolas, 2004. "Auditing cost overrun claims," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 267-285, June.
    2. Dieter Bös, 1996. "Incomplete Contracting and Target-Cost Pricing," Discussion Paper Serie A 524, University of Bonn, Germany.
    3. Sang-Hyun Kim & Morris A. Cohen & Serguei Netessine, 2007. "Performance Contracting in After-Sales Service Supply Chains," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(12), pages 1843-1858, December.

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