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Lost in Translation: Honest Misunderstandings and Ex Post Disputes

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  • Grant, Simon
  • Kline, Jeff
  • Quiggin, John

Abstract

We give a formal treatment of optimal risk sharing contracts in the face of ambiguity. The central idea is that boundedly rational individuals do not have access to a language sufficiently rich to describe all possible states of nature. The ambiguity in a contract arises from contractual clauses that are interpreted by the parties in different ways. The cost of ambiguity is represented in terms of dispute costs. Taking the potential for dispute into account, we find that risk averse agents may forgo potential gains from risk sharing and choose incomplete contracts instead.

Suggested Citation

  • Grant, Simon & Kline, Jeff & Quiggin, John, 2006. "Lost in Translation: Honest Misunderstandings and Ex Post Disputes," Risk and Sustainable Management Group Working Papers 151177, University of Queensland, School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uqsers:151177
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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/151177/files/WPR06_3.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Itzhak Gilboa & David Schmeidler, 1995. "Case-Based Decision Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 605-639.
    2. Heifetz, Aviad & Meier, Martin & Schipper, Burkhard C., 2006. "Interactive unawareness," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 78-94, September.
    3. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 1994. "A Course in Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650401, January.
    4. Sujoy Mukerji & Jean-Marc Tallon, 2001. "Ambiguity Aversion and Incompleteness of Financial Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(4), pages 883-904.
    5. Simon Grant & John Quiggin, 2005. "Learning and Discovery," Risk & Uncertainty Working Papers WP7R05, Risk and Sustainable Management Group, University of Queensland.
    6. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114.
    7. Chew Soo Hong & Jacob S. Sagi, 2006. "Event Exchangeability: Probabilistic Sophistication Without Continuity or Monotonicity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(3), pages 771-786, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Institutional and Behavioral Economics;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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