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Optimal incentive contracts to avert firm relocation

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  • Pollrich, Martin
  • Schmidt, Robert C.

Abstract

A unilateral policy intervention by a country (such as the introduction of an emission price) can induce firms to relocate to other countries. We analyze a dynamic game where a regulator offers contracts to avert relocation of a firm in each of two periods. The firm can undertake a location-specific investment (e.g., in abatement capital). Contracts can be written on some contractible productive activity (e.g., emissions), but the firm's investment is not contractible. A moral hazard problem arises under short-term contracting that makes it impossible to implement outcomes with positive transfers in the second period. The regulator resorts to high-powered incentives in the first period. The firm then overinvests and a lock-in effect prevents relocation in both periods. Paradoxically, the distortion in the firstperiod contract can be so severe that higher transfers are needed to avert relocation compared to a (hypothetical) situation without the investment opportunity.

Suggested Citation

  • Pollrich, Martin & Schmidt, Robert C., 2014. "Optimal incentive contracts to avert firm relocation," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 480, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:480
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Markusen James R. & Morey Edward R. & Olewiler Nancy D., 1993. "Environmental Policy when Market Structure and Plant Locations Are Endogenous," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 69-86, January.
    2. Xavier Freixas & Roger Guesnerie & Jean Tirole, 1985. "Planning under Incomplete Information and the Ratchet Effect," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 173-191.
    3. Schmidt, Robert C. & Heitzig, Jobst, 2014. "Carbon leakage: Grandfathering as an incentive device to avert firm relocation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 209-223.
    4. Bergemann, Dirk & Hege, Ulrich, 1998. "Venture capital financing, moral hazard, and learning," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(6-8), pages 703-735, August.
    5. Rey, Patrick & Salanie, Bernard, 1990. "Long-term, Short-term and Renegotiation: On the Value of Commitment in Contracting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(3), pages 597-619, May.
    6. Horstmann, Ignatius J. & Markusen, James R., 1992. "Endogenous market structures in international trade (natura facit saltum)," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1-2), pages 109-129, February.
    7. Joskow, Paul L, 1987. "Contract Duration and Relationship-Specific Investments: Empirical Evidence from Coal Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 168-185, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    moral hazard; contract theory; limited commitment; firm mobility; abatement capital;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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