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Unforeseen Contingencies

Author

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  • Nabil J Al-Najjar
  • Luca Anderlini
  • Leonardo Felli

Abstract

We develop a model of unforeseen contingencies. These are contingencies that are understood by economic agents - their consequences and probabilities are known - but are such that every description of such events necessarily leaves out relevant features that have a non-negligible impact on the parties' expected utilities. Using a simple co-insurance problem as a backdrop, we introduce a model where states are described in terms of objective features, and the description of an event specifies a finite number of such features. In this setting, unforeseen contingencies are present in the co-insurance problem when the first-best risk-sharing contract varies with the states of nature in a complex way that makes it highly sensitive to the component features of the states. In this environment, although agents can compute expected pay-offs, they are unable to include in any ex-ante agreement a description of the relevant contingencies that captures (even approximately) the relevant complexity of the risky environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Nabil J Al-Najjar & Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, 2002. "Unforeseen Contingencies," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 431, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:stitep:431
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    File URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/te/te431.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anderlini, Luca & Felli, Leonardo, 1998. "Describability and agency problems," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 35-59, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Patrick Bolton & Antoine Faure-Grimaud, 2010. "Satisficing Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 937-971.
    2. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Giovanni Maggi, 2002. "Rigidity, Discretion, and the Costs of Writing Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 798-817, September.
    3. Andrew Postlewaite, 2007. "Courts of Law and Unforeseen Contingencies," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 662-684, October.
    4. J. Luis Guasch & Jean-Jacques Laffont & Stephane Straub, 2003. "Renegotiation of Concession Contracts in Latin America," ESE Discussion Papers 103, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
    5. Nabil I. Al-Najjar & Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, 2006. "Undescribable Events," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(4), pages 849-868.
    6. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Giovanni Maggi, 2008. "Costly contracting in a long-term relationship," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 352-377.
    7. Guasch, J. Luis & Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Straub, Stéphane, 2008. "Renegotiation of concession contracts in Latin America: Evidence from the water and transport sectors," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 421-442, March.
    8. Jorge Montesinos & Eduardo Saavedra, 2012. "Algunos Alcances en torno a la Institucionalidad y Renegociación de Concesiones en la Infraestructura de Transporte de Uso Público en Perú," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv277, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
    9. Nabil Al-Najjar & Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, 2003. "Undescribable Contingencies," Discussion Papers 1370, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    10. Cesare Dosi & Michele Moretto, 2015. "Procurement with Unenforceable Contract Time and the Law of Liquidated Damages," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(1), pages 160-186.
    11. Paul Schweinzer, 2001. "Bilateral Uncertainty in a Model of Job-Market Screening with Intermediaries," Game Theory and Information 0108002, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 08 Jan 2002.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unforeseen contingencies; incomplete contracts; finite invariance; fine variability.;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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