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Incomplete Contracts, Incentives and Economic Power

  • Sripad Motiram


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    This paper formalizes ideas from classical and radical political economy on task allocation and technology adoption under capitalism. A few previous studies have attempted this, but the framework and results in this paper are different. I model labor contracts that are incomplete owing to unforeseen/indescribable contingencies, leading to Pareto-improving renegotiation and a hold-up problem. Given path dependence, the allocation is sub-optimal, with the extent of inefficiency depending upon the degree of incompleteness. This model captures insights from the above literature on the microeconomic roots of inefficiency and power. It also provides a concrete setting where indescribable contingencies do (or don’t) matter - a much-debated issue. [WP-2010-011]

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    Paper provided by eSocialSciences in its series Working Papers with number id:3123.

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    Date of creation: Nov 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:3123
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    1. Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    2. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817.
    3. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 2005. "Contract Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262025760, June.
    4. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1992. "An Incomplete Contracts Approach to Financial Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 473-94, July.
    5. Anderlini, Luca & Felli, Leonardo, 1994. "Incomplete Written Contracts: Undescribable States of Nature," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1085-1124, November.
    6. Grout, Paul A, 1984. "Investment and Wages in the Absence of Binding Contracts: A Nash Bargining Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 449-60, March.
    7. John E. Roemer, 1979. "Divide and Conquer: Microfoundations of a Marxian Theory of Wage Discrimination," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(2), pages 695-705, Autumn.
    8. Bowles, Samuel, 1985. "The Production Process in a Competitive Economy: Walrasian, Neo-Hobbesian, and Marxian Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 16-36, March.
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