IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/edn/esedps/109.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Agreeing Now to Agree Later: Contracts that Rule Out but do not Rule In

Author

Abstract

We view a contract as a list of outcomes. Ex ante, the parties commit not to consider outcomes not on the list, i.e., these are "ruled out". Ex post, they freely bargain over outcomes on the list, i.e., the contract specifies no mechanism to structure their choice; in this sense outcomes on the list are not "ruled in". A "loose" contract (long list) maximizes flexibility but may interfere with ex ante investment incentives. When these incentives are important enough, the parties may write a "tight" contract (short list), even though this leads to ex post inefficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2004. "Agreeing Now to Agree Later: Contracts that Rule Out but do not Rule In," ESE Discussion Papers 109, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  • Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:109
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.econ.ed.ac.uk/papers/id109_esedps.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hart, Oliver D & Moore, John, 1988. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 755-785, July.
    2. Joel Watson, 2007. "Contract, Mechanism Design, and Technological Detail," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 55-81, January.
    3. Bajari, Patrick & Tadelis, Steven, 2001. "Incentives versus Transaction Costs: A Theory of Procurement Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 387-407, Autumn.
    4. Moore, John & Repullo, Rafael, 1988. "Subgame Perfect Implementation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1191-1220, September.
    5. Yeon-Koo Che & Tai-Yeong Chung, 1999. "Contract Damages and Cooperative Investments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 84-105.
    6. Ilya Segal & Michael D. Whinston, 2002. "The Mirrlees Approach to Mechanism Design with Renegotiation (with Applications to Hold-up and Risk Sharing)," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 1-45, January.
    7. Ken Binmore & Ariel Rubinstein & Asher Wolinsky, 1986. "The Nash Bargaining Solution in Economic Modelling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(2), pages 176-188, Summer.
    8. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
    9. Eric Maskin & John Moore, 1999. "Implementation and Renegotiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 39-56.
    10. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1989. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 447-480, March.
    11. Mathias Dewatripont, 1989. "Renegotiation and Information Revelation Over Time: The Case of Optimal Labor Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 589-619.
    12. William P. Rogerson, 1992. "Contractual Solutions to the Hold-Up Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(4), pages 777-793.
    13. Kathryn E. Spier, 1992. "Incomplete Contracts and Signalling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(3), pages 432-443, Autumn.
    14. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1990. "Adverse Selection and Renegotiation in Procurement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(4), pages 597-625.
    15. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
    16. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    17. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 2002. "Economic analysis of law," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 25, pages 1661-1784 Elsevier.
    18. Donald B. Hausch & Yeon-Koo Che, 1999. "Cooperative Investments and the Value of Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 125-147, March.
    19. Grout, Paul A, 1984. "Investment and Wages in the Absence of Binding Contracts: A Nash Bargining Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 449-460, March.
    20. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
    21. Myerson, Roger B, 1979. "Incentive Compatibility and the Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 61-73, January.
    22. Carlton, Dennis W, 1979. "Vertical Integration in Competitive Markets under Uncertainty," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 189-209, March.
    23. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 257-282, March.
    24. Tai-Yeong Chung, 1991. "Incomplete Contracts, Specific Investments, and Risk Sharing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(5), pages 1031-1042.
    25. Eric Maskin, 1999. "Nash Equilibrium and Welfare Optimality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 23-38.
    26. Myerson, Roger B. & Satterthwaite, Mark A., 1983. "Efficient mechanisms for bilateral trading," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 265-281, April.
    27. Oliver D. Hart & Jean Tirole, 1988. "Contract Renegotiation and Coasian Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(4), pages 509-540.
    28. Thomas P. Lyon, 2004. "Buyer-Option Contracts Restored: Renegotiation, Inefficient Threats, and the Hold-Up Problem," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, pages 148-169.
    29. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1998. "Incomplete Contracts and Strategic Ambiguity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 902-932, September.
    30. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114.
    31. Allen, Franklin & Gale, Douglas, 1992. "Measurement Distortion and Missing Contingencies in Optimal Contracts," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
    32. repec:cdl:ucsdec:142237 is not listed on IDEAS
    33. Boot, Arnoud W A & Greenbaum, Stuart I & Thakor, Anjan V, 1993. "Reputation and Discretion in Financial Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1165-1183, December.
    34. Georg Noldeke & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1995. "Option Contracts and Renegotiation: A Solution to the Hold-Up Problem," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 163-179.
    35. Mussa, Michael & Rosen, Sherwin, 1978. "Monopoly and product quality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 301-317, August.
    36. Mathias Dewatripont, 1989. "Renegotiation and information revelation over time: the case of optimal labor contacts," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9573, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    37. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1994. "Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1125-1156.
    38. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
    39. Alvin E Roth, 2008. "Axiomatic Models of Bargaining," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002376, David K. Levine.
    40. Jolls, Christine, 1997. "Contracts as Bilateral Commitments: A New Perspective on Contract Modification," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 203-237, January.
    41. Ilya Segal, 1999. "Complexity and Renegotiation: A Foundation for Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 57-82.
    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. Shin, Dongsoo, 2008. "Information acquisition and optimal project management," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 1032-1043, July.
    2. Sergei Guriev & Sudipto Bhattacharya, 2008. "Control Rights over Intellectual Property: Corporate Venturing and Bankruptcy Regimes," FMG Discussion Papers dp618, Financial Markets Group.
    3. Bade, Sophie & Haeringer, Guillaume & Renou, Ludovic, 2009. "Bilateral commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, pages 1817-1831.
    4. Garrouste, Pierre & Saussier, Stephane, 2005. "Looking for a theory of the firm: Future challenges," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 178-199, October.
    5. Sudipto Bhattacharya & Sergei Guriev, 2006. "Patents vs. Trade Secrets: Knowledge Licensing and Spillover," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(6), pages 1112-1147, December.
    6. Surajeet Chakravarty, 2005. "Resolving Contractual Disputes: Arbitration vs Mediation," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 05/117, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    7. William Fuchs & Vinicius Carrasco, 2008. "Dividing and Discarding A Procedure for Taking Decisions with Non-transferable Utility," 2008 Meeting Papers 315, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Schiller Daniel, 2012. "Editorial. Informal dynamics of economic processes," Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, De Gruyter, vol. 56(1-2), pages 1-8, October.
    9. Bhattacharya, Sudipto & Guriev, Sergei, 2004. "Knowledge disclosure, patents and optimal organization of research and development," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19315, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2006. "Contracts as Reference Points," NBER Working Papers 12706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Ricard Gil & Jordi Mondria, 2011. "Introducing managerial attention allocation in incentive contracts," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 335-358, September.
    12. Chaserant, Camille, 2007. "Les fondements incomplets de l’incomplétude : Une revue critique de la théorie des contrats incomplets," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 83(2), pages 227-253, juin.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K12 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Contract Law
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:edn:esedps:109. 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: (Research Office). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/deediuk.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.