IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/17545.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

How Do Informal Agreements and Renegotiation Shape Contractual Reference Points?

Author

Listed:
  • Ernst Fehr
  • Oliver D. Hart
  • Christian Zehnder

Abstract

Previous experimental work provides encouraging support for some of the central assumptions underlying Hart and Moore (2008)'s theory of contractual reference points. However, existing studies ignore realistic aspects of trading relationships such as informal agreements and ex post renegotiation. We investigate the relevance of these features experimentally. Our evidence indicates that the central behavioral mechanism underlying the concept of contractual reference points is robust to the presence of informal agreements and ex post renegotiation. However, our data also reveal new behavioral features that suggest refinements of the theory. In particular, we find that the availability of informal agreements and ex post renegotiation changes how trading parties evaluate ex post outcomes. Interestingly, the availability of these additional options affects ex post evaluations even in situations in which the parties do not use them.

Suggested Citation

  • Ernst Fehr & Oliver D. Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2011. "How Do Informal Agreements and Renegotiation Shape Contractual Reference Points?," NBER Working Papers 17545, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17545 Note: CF LE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17545.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 817-869.
    2. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2008. "Contracts as Reference Points," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 1-48.
    3. Ernst Fehr & Lorenz Goette & Christian Zehnder, 2009. "A Behavioral Account of the Labor Market: The Role of Fairness Concerns," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 355-384, May.
    4. Ernst Fehr & Oliver Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2009. "Contracts, Reference Points, and Competition-Behavioral Effects of The Fundamental Transformation," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 561-572, 04-05.
    5. Ernst Fehr & Oliver Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2011. "Contracts as Reference Points--Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 493-525.
    6. Oliver Hart, 2009. "Hold-up, Asset Ownership, and Reference Points," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 267-300.
    7. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    8. Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
    9. Greiner, Ben, 2004. "An Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments," MPRA Paper 13513, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Hoppe, Eva I. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2011. "Can contracts solve the hold-up problem? Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 186-199, September.
    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. Bohdan Kukharskyy, 2012. "Global Sourcing if Contracts are Reference Points," Working Papers 129, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    2. Alexander W. Cappelen & Rune Jansen Hagen & Erik Ø. Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2014. "Do Non-Enforceable Contracts Matter? Evidence from an International Lab Experiment," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(1), pages 100-113, March.
    3. Roman Sustek & Peter Rupert & Finn Kydland, 2012. "Housing Dynamics," 2012 Meeting Papers 315, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Cappelen, Alexander W. & Hagen, Rune Jansen & Sørensen, Erik Ø. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2012. "DO NON-ENFORCEABLE CONTRACTS MATTER? EVIDENCE FROM AN INTERNATIONAL LAB EXPERIMENT Department," Working Papers in Economics 16/12, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

    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:nbr:nberwo:17545. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.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.