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Contract, Mechanism Design, and Technological Detail

  • Watson, Joel

This paper develops a theoretical framework for studying contract and enforcement in setting of complete, but unverifiable, information. The main point of the paper is that the consideration of renegotiation necessitates formal examination of other technological constraints, especially those having to do with the timing and nature of inalienable productive decisions. The main technical contributions include (a) results that characterize of the sets of implementable state-contingent payoffs under various assumptions about renegotiation opportunities, and (b) a result establishing conditions under which, when trading opportunities are durable and trade decisions are reversible, stationary contracts are optimal. The analysis refutes the validity of the "mechanism design with ex post renegotiation" program, it demonstrates the validity of other mechanism design models in dynamic environments, and it highlights the need for a more structured game-theoretic framework.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC San Diego in its series University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt18x0r2nn.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt18x0r2nn
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  1. Eric Maskin, 1999. "Nash Equilibrium and Welfare Optimality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 23-38.
  2. Abreu, Dilip & Pearce, David & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1986. "Optimal cartel equilibria with imperfect monitoring," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 251-269, June.
  3. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1999. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 115-138.
  4. Eric Maskin & John Moore, 1998. "Implementation and renegotiation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19350, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Kalai, Ehud & Ledyard, John, 1997. "Repeated Implementation," Working Papers 1027, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  6. Nöldeke, Georg & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "Sequential investments and options to own," Munich Reprints in Economics 19327, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  7. Bull Jesse, 2008. "Costly Evidence Production and the Limits of Verifiability," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-28, July.
  8. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1990. "Adverse Selection and Renegotiation in Procurement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(4), pages 597-625.
  9. Myerson, Roger B., 1982. "Optimal coordination mechanisms in generalized principal-agent problems," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 67-81, June.
  10. Hart, Oliver D & Moore, John, 1988. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 755-85, July.
  11. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli & Andrew Postlewaite, 2003. "Courts of Law and Unforeseen Contingencies," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 447, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  12. Che, Y.K. & Hausch, D.B., 1997. "Cooperative Investments and the Value of Contracting," Working papers 9714, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  13. Mathias Dewatripont, 1989. "Renegotiation and Information Revelation Over Time: The Case of Optimal Labor Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 589-619.
  14. Schwartz, Alan & Watson, Joel, 2001. "The Law and Economics of Costly Contracting," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt2wh8m7bv, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  15. Ilya Segal, 1999. "Complexity and Renegotiation: A Foundation for Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 57-82.
  16. Georg Noldeke & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1995. "Option Contracts and Renegotiation: A Solution to the Hold-Up Problem," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(2), pages 163-179, Summer.
  17. Edlin, Aaron S & Hermalin, Benjamin E, 2000. "Contract Renegotiation and Options in Agency Problems," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 395-423, October.
  18. Thomas P. Lyon, 2004. "Buyer-Option Contracts Restored: Renegotiation, Inefficient Threats, and the Hold-Up Problem," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 148-169, April.
  19. L. Wade, 1988. "Review," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 99-100, July.
  20. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 257-82, March.
  21. Thomas P. Lyon & Eric Rasmusen, 2001. "Option Contracts and Renegotiation in Complex Environments," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-118, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  22. Roberto Serrano, 2009. "On Watson's Non-Forcing Contracts and Renegotiation," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(3), pages 2350-2360.
  23. Alan Schwartz, 2004. "The Law and Economics of Costly Contracting," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 2-31, April.
  24. Moore, John & Repullo, Rafael, 1988. "Subgame Perfect Implementation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1191-1220, September.
  25. Bull, Jesse & Watson, Joel, 2004. "Evidence disclosure and verifiability," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 1-31, September.
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