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Unforeseen Contingencies

Author

Listed:
  • Al-Najjar, Nabil I.
  • Anderlini, Luca
  • Felli, Leonardo

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

  • Al-Najjar, Nabil I. & Anderlini, Luca & Felli, Leonardo, 2002. "Unforeseen Contingencies," CEPR Discussion Papers 3271, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3271
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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. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Nabil I. Al-Najjar & Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, 2006. "Undescribable Events," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(4), pages 849-868.
    4. Guasch, J. Luis & Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Straub, Stephane, 2003. "Renegotiation of concession contracts in Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3011, The World Bank.
    5. Pierpaolo Battigalli & Giovanni Maggi, 2008. "Costly contracting in a long-term relationship," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 352-377.
    6. 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.
    7. Patrick Bolton & Antoine Faure-Grimaud, 2010. "Satisficing Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 937-971.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Nabil Al-Najjar & Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, 2003. "Undescribable Contingencies," Discussion Papers 1370, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    11. Paul Schweinzer, 2001. "Bilateral Uncertainty in a Model of Job-Market Screening with Intermediaries," Game Theory and Information 0108002, EconWPA, revised 08 Jan 2002.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fine variability; finite invariance; incomplete contracts; unforeseen contingencies;

    JEL classification:

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

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