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Satisficing Contracts

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  • Patrick Bolton
  • Antoine Faure-Grimaud

Abstract

We propose a model of equilibrium contracting between two agents who are "boundedly rational" in the sense that they face time-costs of deliberating current and future transactions. We show that equilibrium contracts may be incomplete and assign control rights: they may leave some enforceable future transactions unspecified and instead specify which agent has the right to decide these transactions. Control rights allow the controlling agent to defer time-consuming deliberations on those transactions to a later date, making her less inclined to prolong negotiations over an initial incomplete contract. Still, agents tend to resolve conflicts up-front by writing more complete initial contracts. A more complete contract can take the form of either a finer adaptation to future contingencies, or greater coarseness. Either way, conflicts among contracting agents tend to result in excessively complete contracts in the sense that the maximization of joint payoffs would result in less up-front deliberation.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Bolton & Antoine Faure-Grimaud, 2009. "Satisficing Contracts," NBER Working Papers 14654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14654
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel C Hardy, 2013. "Bank Resolution Costs, Depositor Preference, and Asset Encumbrance," IMF Working Papers 13/172, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Patrick Bolton & Antoine Faure-Grimaud, 2009. "Thinking Ahead: The Decision Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(4), pages 1205-1238.
    3. S├╝ssmuth Bernd & von Weizs├Ącker Robert K., 2011. "Shooting Rampages and Maintenance of Campus Safety: An Incomplete Contracts Perspective," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 573-600, December.
    4. repec:eee:gamebe:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:380-395 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Rajan, Uday & Seru, Amit & Vig, Vikrant, 2015. "The failure of models that predict failure: Distance, incentives, and defaults," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 237-260.
    6. Pamela Queen, 2015. "Enlightened Shareholder Maximization: Is this Strategy Achievable?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 683-694, March.
    7. Ernst-Ludwig Thadden & Xiaojian Zhao, 2014. "Multi-task agency with unawareness," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 77(2), pages 197-222, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law

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