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Infrastructure Contracts: Trust and Institutional Updating

  • Dassiou, X.
  • Stern, J.

This paper discusses trust and trust perceptions in infrastructure contracts and supporting institutions. We focus on perceptions of the trustworthiness of the government purchasers of infrastructure services by the supplying companies and by the governments themselves. In particular, we allow for trust updating and trust misalignments which may give rise to "undertrusting" and "overtrusting". The core of the paper sets out a game theoretic model of contracts with dynamic adjustment of trust perceptions, which we use to explore the impact of trust misalignment both on economic efficiency (measured by expected welfare) and on investment levels. We explore flexible contracts with and without pre-payments, rigid contracts (which do not allow for post-investment renegotiation) and hybrid contracts. We then compare the efficiency of the flexible contracts to that of hybrid contracts using as a criterion the expected welfare implications of each contract. The model is used to shed light on current issues on the sustainability of private investment infrastructure contracts in developed and in developing countries, including the role of regulatory institutions.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, City University London in its series Working Papers with number 08/06.

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Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cty:dpaper:08/06
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Social Sciences Building, City University London, Whiskin Street, London, EC1R 0JD, United Kingdom,
Phone: +44 (0)20 7040 8500
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  1. Luis Araujo & Emanuel Ornelas, 2005. "Trust-Based Trade," IBMEC RJ Economics Discussion Papers 2005-08, Economics Research Group, IBMEC Business School - Rio de Janeiro.
  2. Greif, Avner, 1993. "Contract Enforceability and Economic Institutions in Early Trade: the Maghribi Traders' Coalition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 525-48, June.
  3. Laffont,Jean-Jacques, 2005. "Regulation and Development," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521549486.
  4. Tirole, Jean, 2008. "Cognition and Incomplete Contracts," IDEI Working Papers 453, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  5. Littlechild, S.C., 2001. "Competitive Bidding for a Long-term Electricity Distribution Contract," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0112, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  6. Anderson James E & Young Leslie, 2006. "Trade and Contract Enforcement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-36, November.
  7. Pablo T. Spiller, 2009. "An Institutional Theory of Public Contracts: Regulatory Implications," Chapters, in: Regulation, Deregulation, Reregulation, chapter 3 Edward Elgar.
  8. J. Luis Guasch & Stéphane Straub, 2006. "Renegotiation Of Infrastructure Concessions: An Overview," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 77(4), pages 479-493, December.
  9. Williamson, Oliver E, 1976. "The Economics of Internal Organization: Exit and Voice in Relation to Markets and Hierarchies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 369-77, May.
  10. Paul Levine & John Stern & Francesc Trillas, 2005. "Utility price regulation and time inconsistency: comparisons with monetary policy," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 447-478, July.
  11. John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 1999. "Interfirm Relationships and Informal Credit in Vietnam," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1285-1320.
  12. Littlechild Stephen, 2002. "Competitive Bidding for a Long-Term Electricity Distribution Contract," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-38, March.
  13. Claude Ménard & Stéphane Saussier, 2000. "Contractual Choice and Performance the Case of Water Supply in France," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 92(1), pages 385-404.
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