On the Efficacy of Contractual Provisions for Processing Tomatoes
This paper uses extensive data on production outcomes for processing tomato growers in California to examine the efficacy of explicit incentives observed in grower-processor contracts. Our data include all deliveries of tomatoes to some 51 processors over a period of 7 years in which at least 65 unique types of contracts are employed. Results indicate that incentives account for a significant proportion of observed variation in production outcomes, and that complementarities across different sorts of "incentive instruments" play a prominent role in contract design. Although explicit incentives explain a substantial portion of the variation in production outcomes relative to that which could be explained by incentives (as captured by processor/year fixed effects), there remains considerable variation which might be accounted for by unobserved or implicit incentives. Finally, we control for a quite exhaustive set of factors other than incentive provisions that might conceivably affect expected production outcomes, yet are still left with a substantial amount of unexplained variation.
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