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Reputations, Relationships and the Enforcement of Incomplete Contracts

By W. Bentley MacLeod

Abstract

This paper discusses the literature on the enforcement of incomplete contracts. It compares legal enforcement to enforcement via relationships and reputations. A number of mechanisms, such as the repeat purchase mechanism (Klein and Leffler (1981)) and efficiency wages (Shapiro and Stiglitz (1984)), have been o ered as solutions to the problem of enforcing an incomplete contract. It is shown that the efficiency of these solutions is very sensitive to the characteristics of the good or service exchanged. In general, neither the repeat purchase mechanism nor efficiency wages is the most efficient in the set of possible relational contracts. In many situations, total output may be increased through the use of performance pay and through increasing the quality of law

Topics: contract, law and economics, reputation, repeated games, incomplete contracts, transactions costs, institutional economics, contract enforcement I would like to thank Kyle Bagwell, Patrick Bolton, Luis Cabral, Ruoying.Chen, Martin Cripps, Janet Currie
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.183.7002
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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