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Imperfect Contract Enforcement

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  • James E. Anderson
  • Leslie Young

Abstract

We model imperfect contract enforcement when repudiators and their victims default to spot trading. The interaction between the contract and spot markets under improved enforcement can exacerbate repudiation and reduce contract execution, harming all traders. Improved contract execution benefits traders on the excess side of the spot market by attracting potential counter-parties, but harms them by impeding their exit from contracts found to be unfavorable. Multiple equilibria and multiple optima are possible, with anarchy a local optimum, perfect enforcement a local minimum and imperfect enforcement a global optimum. LDCs exhibit parameter combinations such that imperfect enforcement is optimal from their side of international markets. The model thus rationalizes the internationally varying patterns of imperfect enforceability observable in survey data.

Suggested Citation

  • James E. Anderson & Leslie Young, 2002. "Imperfect Contract Enforcement," NBER Working Papers 8847, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8847
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8847.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    2. Marcouiller, Douglas & Young, Leslie, 1995. "The Black Hole of Graft: The Predatory State and the Informal Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 630-646, June.
    3. McLaren, John, 1999. "Supplier relations and the market context: A theory of handshakes," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 121-138, June.
    4. James E. Anderson & Leslie Young, 2000. "Trade Implies Law: The Power of the Weak," NBER Working Papers 7702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
    6. Acemoglu, Daron & Shimer, Robert, 1999. "Holdups and Efficiency with Search Frictions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 827-849, November.
    7. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-564, September.
    8. Andrew Bernard & Joachim Wagner, 2001. "Export entry and exit by German firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 137(1), pages 105-123, March.
    9. James E. Anderson & Douglas Marcouiller, 1999. "Trade, Insecurity, and Home Bias: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. James E. Rauch & Vitor Trindade, 2002. "Ethnic Chinese Networks In International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 116-130, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Babetskaia-Kukharchuk, Oxana & Maurel, Mathilde, 2004. "Russia's accession to the WTO: the potential for trade increase," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 680-699, December.
    2. Evelina Mengova, 2014. "Quality of Institutions and Outsourcing," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(4), pages 639-659, December.
    3. Anderson James E & Young Leslie, 2006. "Trade and Contract Enforcement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-36, November.
    4. Anderson, James E. & Bandiera, Oriana, 2006. "Traders, cops and robbers," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 197-215, September.
    5. Swinnen Johan & Vandeplas Anneleen, 2012. "Rich Consumers and Poor Producers: Quality and Rent Distribution in Global Value Chains," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-30, January.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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