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Mitigating Contractual Hazards: Unilateral Options and Contract Length

  • Keith J. Crocker
  • Scott E. Masten

In this article we consider the ways in which the desire for efficient, low-cost adaptation to change influences the tradeoff between the design and duration of long-term contractual relationships. We examine the distortions in contract terms occasioned by nonprice competition for natural gas in the presence of wellhead price regulation. Deviations from optimal contract incentives significantly raise the cost of being bound to long-term agreements and shorten the duration of contracts. The approach we adopt suggests a method for empirically assessing the efficiency of alternative contracting practices and legal standards.

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Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (1988)
Issue (Month): 3 (Autumn)
Pages: 327-343

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Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:19:y:1988:i:autumn:p:327-343
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