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Contract Duration and the Division of Labor in Agricultural Land Leases

  • Jonathan Yoder
  • Ishrat Hossain
  • Francis Eppin
  • Damona Doye

    ()

    (School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University)

Short-term contracts provide weak incentives for durable input investment if post-contract asset transfer is difficult. Our model shows that when both agents provide inputs, optimal contract length balances weak incentives of one agent against the other. This perspective broadens the existing contract duration literature, which emphasizes the tradeoff between risk sharing and contract costs. We develop hypotheses and test them based on private grazing contracts from the Southern Great Plains. We find broad support for the implications of our model. For example, landowners provide durable land-specific inputs more often under annual versus multiyear contracts.

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Paper provided by School of Economic Sciences, Washington State University in its series Working Papers with number 2005-6.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: May 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wsu:wpaper:yoder-3
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  1. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1973. "Incentives and Risk-Sharing in Sharecropping," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 353, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Williamson, Oliver E, 1983. "Credible Commitments: Using Hostages to Support Exchange," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 519-40, September.
  3. Cheung, Steven N S, 1969. "Transaction Costs, Risk Aversion, and the Choice of Contractual Arrangements," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(1), pages 23-42, April.
  4. 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 168-85, March.
  5. Robert Rich & Joseph Tracy, 2000. "Uncertainty and Labor Contract Durations," NBER Working Papers 7731, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Wallace, Frederick H. & Blanco, Herminio, 1991. "The effects of real and nominal shocks on union-firm contract duration," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 361-380, June.
  8. Rao, C H Hanumantha, 1971. "Uncertainty, Entrepreneurship, and Sharecropping in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(3), pages 578-95, May-June.
  9. Bengt Holmstrom, 1997. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1205, David K. Levine.
  10. Gray, Jo Anna, 1978. "On Indexation and Contract Length," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(1), pages 1-18, February.
  11. 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.
  12. Douglas W. Allen & Dean Lueck, 1993. "Transaction Costs and the Design of Cropshare Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(1), pages 78-100, Spring.
  13. Kees Jan Van Garderen & Chandra Shah, 2002. "Exact interpretation of dummy variables in semilogarithmic equations," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 5(1), pages 149-159, June.
  14. Hallagan, William S., 1978. "Share contracting for California Gold," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 196-210, April.
  15. Allen, Douglas W & Lueck, Dean, 1995. "Risk Preferences and the Economics of Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 447-51, May.
  16. Danziger, Leif, 1988. "Real Shocks, Efficient Risk Sharing, and the Duration of Labor Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(2), pages 435-40, May.
  17. Eswaran, Mukesh & Kotwal, Ashok, 1985. "A Theory of Contractual Structure in Agriculture," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 352-67, June.
  18. Leffler, Keith B & Rucker, Randal R, 1991. "Transactions Costs and the Efficient Organization of Production: A Study of Timber-Harvesting Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 1060-87, October.
  19. 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 704-36, October.
  20. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
  21. Shelanski, Howard A & Klein, Peter G, 1995. "Empirical Research in Transaction Cost Economics: A Review and Assessment," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 335-61, October.
  22. Allen, Douglas W & Lueck, Dean, 1992. "The "Back Forty" on a Handshake: Specific Assets, Reputation, and the Structure of Farmland Contracts," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 366-76, April.
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