IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ces/ceswps/_3883.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Let's Talk: How Communication Affects Contract Design

Author

Listed:
  • Jordi Brandts
  • Gary Charness
  • Matthew Ellman

Abstract

We study experimentally how the ability to communicate affects the frequency and effectiveness of flexible and inflexible contracts in a bilateral trade context where sellers can adjust trade quality after observing a post-contractual cost shock and a discretionary buyer transfer. In the absence of communication, we find that rigid contracts are more frequent and lead to higher earnings for both buyer and seller. By contrast, in the presence of communication, flexible contracts are much more frequent and considerably more productive, both for buyers and sellers. Also, both buyer and seller earn considerably more from flexible with communication than rigid without communication. Our results show quite strongly that communication, a normal feature in contracting, can remove the potential cost of flexibility (disagreements caused by conflicting perceptions). We offer an explanation based on social norms.

Suggested Citation

  • Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness & Matthew Ellman, 2012. "Let's Talk: How Communication Affects Contract Design," CESifo Working Paper Series 3883, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3883
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp3883.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    2. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2008. "Contracts as Reference Points," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 1-48.
    3. Oprea, Ryan & Charness, Gary & Friedman, Daniel, 2014. "Continuous time and communication in a public-goods experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 212-223.
    4. W. Bentley MacLeod, 2007. "Reputations, Relationships, and Contract Enforcement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 595-628, September.
    5. Eric Maskin & John Moore, 1999. "Implementation and Renegotiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 39-56.
    6. Matthew Ellman & Paul Pezanis-Christou, 2010. "Organizational Structure, Communication, and Group Ethics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2478-2491, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:eecrev:v:95:y:2017:i:c:p:195-214 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:jeborg:v:149:y:2018:i:c:p:74-87 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Charness, Gary & Cobo-Reyes, Ramón & Jiménez, Natalia & Lacomba, Juan A. & Lagos, Francisco, 2017. "Job security and long-term investment: An experimental analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 195-214.
    4. repec:eee:gamebe:v:109:y:2018:i:c:p:544-564 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:pubeco:v:156:y:2017:i:c:p:34-47 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Kunte, Sebastian & Wollni, Meike & Keser, Claudia, 2014. "Making it personal: breach and private ordering in a contract farming experiment," GlobalFood Discussion Papers 186136, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    7. Alain Cohn & Tobias Gesche & Michel André Maréchal, 2018. "Honesty in the Digital Age," CESifo Working Paper Series 6996, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Hatzigeorgiou, Andreas & Karpaty, Patrik & Kneller, Richard & Lodefalk, Magnus, 2016. "Do Immigrants Spur Offshoring? Firm-Level Evidence," Ratio Working Papers 282, The Ratio Institute.
    9. GRANDJEAN, Gilles & MANTOVANI, Marco & MAULEON, Ana & VANNETELBOSCH, Vincent, 2014. "Whom are you talking with ? An experiment on credibility and communication structure," CORE Discussion Papers 2014042, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    10. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:7:p:1731-52 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Jordi Brandts & David J. Cooper, 2018. "Truth Be Told An Experimental Study of Communication and Centralization," Working Papers 1046, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    contract design; communication; experiments;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3883. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Klaus Wohlrabe). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.