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Should You Allow Your Agent to Become Your Competitor? On Non-Compete Agreements in Employment Contracts

Author

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  • Kräkel, Matthias

    () (University of Bonn)

  • Sliwka, Dirk

    () (University of Cologne)

Abstract

We discuss a principal-agent model in which the principal has the opportunity to include a non-compete agreement in the employment contract. We show that not imposing such an agreement can be beneficial for the principal as the possibility to leave the firm generates implicit incentives for the agent. The principal prefers to impose such a clause if and only if the value created is sufficiently small relative to the agent's outside option. If the principal can use an option contract for retaining the agent, she will never prefer a strict non-compete agreement.

Suggested Citation

  • Kräkel, Matthias & Sliwka, Dirk, 2006. "Should You Allow Your Agent to Become Your Competitor? On Non-Compete Agreements in Employment Contracts," IZA Discussion Papers 2054, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2054
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Georg Noldeke & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1995. "Option Contracts and Renegotiation: A Solution to the Hold-Up Problem," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(2), pages 163-179, Summer.
    2. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 2001. "The Firm as a Dedicated Hierarchy: A Theory of the Origins and Growth of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 805-851.
    3. Hellmann, Thomas F & Perotti, Enrico C, 2006. "The Circulation of Ideas: Firms Versus Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 5469, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Georg Noeldeke & Klaus Schmidt, 1998. "Sequential Investments and Options to Own," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 633-653, Winter.
    5. Pakes, Ariel & Nitzan, Shmuel, 1983. "Optimum Contracts for Research Personnel, Research Employment, and the Establishment of "Rival" Enterprises," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(4), pages 345-365, October.
    6. 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.
    7. Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1992. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 468-505, June.
    8. 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.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. “Should You Allow Your Agent to Be Your Competitor?,” M. Kräkel & D. Sliwka (2009)
      by afinetheorem in A Fine Theorem on 2012-12-16 15:31:44

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    Cited by:

    1. Englmaier, Florian & Muehlheusser, Gerd & Roider, Andreas, 2010. "Optimal Incentive Contracts under Moral Hazard When the Agent Is Free to Leave," IZA Discussion Papers 5027, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    incomplete contracts; fine; option contract; non-compete agreements; incentives;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • K1 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

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