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Incentives to Invest in Short-term vs. Long-term Contracts: Evidence from a Natural Experiment


  • Dubois, Pierre
  • Vukina, Tomislav


In this paper we study the effects of the change in contract length on the agents' incentives to invest and exert effort. We present an agent's dynamic decision model that explicitly deals with two types of investments and directly allows for contract regime switching by varying the probability of contract renewal parameter. The fact that the unobservable investment in human capital is complementary with the agent's effort produces a result that increasing the probability of contract renewal increases investment and effort, with the consequent increase in production. We also show that there exists a specific level of investment in human capital, for which the investment in physical capital is profitable. We test these theoretical predictions using contract settlement data for the production of hatching eggs. The data was generated by a natural experiment where during the period covered by the data the contract had changed from short-term to long-term. The obtained empirical results are largely supportive of the developed theory.

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  • Dubois, Pierre & Vukina, Tomislav, 2009. "Incentives to Invest in Short-term vs. Long-term Contracts: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," IDEI Working Papers 590, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Dec 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:21782

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    12. Scott E. Masten, 2009. "Long-Term Contracts and Short-Term Commitment: Price Determination for Heterogeneous Freight Transactions," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 79-111.
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