Almost Anonymous Implicit Contracting
Economists use relational or reputational concerns to explain the implicit enforcement of contracts. Both mechanisms require special assumptions concerning contracting parties' identities; in particular, these assumptions would not hold in one-period settings in which outcomes cannot affect reputation. In such a setting, this paper shows how a signaling mechanism can support the implicit enforcement of contracts that Pareto improve upon the null contract. Furthermore, this mechanism is independent of the discount factor and can outperform the relational contract in a range of cases. We find empirical support for our theory using contracts from nancing alliances in the biotech industry.
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