IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The optimal length of contracts with application to outsourcing

Listed author(s):
  • Matthew Ellman

This paper resolves three empirical puzzles in outsourcing by formalizing the adaptation cost of long-term performance contracts. Side-trading with a new partner alongside a long- term contract (to exploit an adaptation-requiring investment) is usually less effective than switching to the new partner when the contract expires. So long-term contracts that prevent holdup of specific investments may induce holdup of adaptation investments. Contract length therefore trades of specific and adaptation investments. Length should increase with the importance and specificity of self-investments, and decrease with the importance of adaptation investments for which side-trading is ineffective. My general model also shows how optimal length falls with cross-investments and wasteful investments.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: https://econ-papers.upf.edu/papers/965.pdf
File Function: Whole Paper
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 965.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Feb 2006
Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:965
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window

  1. Sergei Guriev & Dmitriy Kvasov, 2005. "Contracting on Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1369-1385, December.
  2. Che,Y.-K. & Sakovics,J., 2004. "Contractual remedies to the holdup problem : a dynamic perspective," Working papers 3, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  3. Joel Watson, 2002. "Contract, Mechanism Design, and Technological Detail," Theory workshop papers 505798000000000006, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Matthew Ellman, 2004. "Specificity revisited: The role of cross-investments," Economics Working Papers 799, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jan 2005.
  5. William P. Rogerson, 1984. "Efficient Reliance and Damage Measures for Breach of Contract," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 39-53, Spring.
  6. Patrick Bajari & Steven Tadelis, 1999. "Incentives versus Transaction Costs: A Theory of Procurement Contracts," Working Papers 99029, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  7. Oriana Bandiera, 2007. "Contract Duration and Investment Incentives: Evidence from Land Tenancy Agreements," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 953-986, 09.
  8. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Farrell, Joseph & Shapiro, Carl, 1989. "Optimal Contracts with Lock-In," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 51-68, March.
  10. Goldberg, Victor P & Erickson, John R, 1987. "Quantity and Price Adjustment in Long-term Contracts: A Case Study of Petroleum Coke," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 369-398, October.
  11. Klein, Benjamin & Murphy, Kevin M, 1997. "Vertical Integration as a Self-Enforcing Contractual Arrangement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 415-420, May.
  12. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 2005. "Bargaining and Markets," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000515, UCLA Department of Economics.
  13. Scott E. Masten & Stéphane Saussier, 2000. "Econometrics of Contracts : an Assessment of Developments in the Empirical Literature on Contracting," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 92(1), pages 215-236.
  14. Allen, Douglas W & Lueck, Dean, 1995. "Risk Preferences and the Economics of Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 447-451, May.
  15. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1993. "Investments, Holdup, and the Form of Market Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 811-837, September.
  16. Joe Kerkvliet & Jason F. Shogren, 2001. "The Determinants of Coal Contract Duration for the Powder River Basin," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 157(4), pages 608-608, December.
  17. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 70, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Donald B. Hausch & Yeon-Koo Che, 1999. "Cooperative Investments and the Value of Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 125-147, March.
  19. Harris, Milton & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1987. "On the Duration of Agreements," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(2), pages 389-406, June.
  20. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1996. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1778, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  21. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 2002. "Relational Contracts and the Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 39-84.
  22. Steven Shavell, 1984. "The Design of Contracts and Remedies for Breach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(1), pages 121-148.
  23. Edlin, Aaron S & Reichelstein, Stefan, 1996. "Holdups, Standard Breach Remedies, and Optimal Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 478-501, June.
  24. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817.
  25. Ilya Segal & Michael D. Whinston, 2000. "Exclusive Contracts and Protection of Investments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 603-633, Winter.
  26. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1987. "Contracts as a Barrier to Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 388-401, June.
  27. 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.
  28. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
  29. Allen, Douglas W & Lueck, Dean, 1999. "The Role of Risk in Contract Choice," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 704-736, October.
  30. Keith J. Crocker & Scott E. Masten, 1988. "Mitigating Contractual Hazards: Unilateral Options and Contract Length," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 327-343, Autumn.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:965. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.