Relational Contracts and Competitive Screening
University of Bologna - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
Stockholm School of Economics (SITE)
CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7434
We study the tension between competitive screening and contract enforcement where a principal trades repeatedly with one among several agents, moral hazard and adverse selection coexist, and non-contractible dimensions are governed by relational contracting. We simultaneously characterize optimal relational contracts and competitive screening policies which are interdependent. When non-contractible dimensions are important, the principal optimally restricts competitive screening to a subset of 'loyal' agents, giving up performance bonuses and, when such dimensions are crucial, negotiates an indefinitely renewable contract with one agent. To enhance enforcement, explicit contract duration is also reduced. However, these policies facilitate collusion among agents, which induces an additional trade-off between reputational forces and collusion. When non-contractible dimensions are very important this last trade-off may disappear, as collusion allows more efficient enforcement of better performance.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 38
Keywords: auctions, collusion, contract duration, efficiency wages, implicit and incomplete contracts, Limited enforcement, Loyalty, Multi-tasking, Negotiation, Non-contractible quality, Performance bonus, Procurement, Relational contracts, Reputation, Screening
JEL Classification: C73, D86, L14working papers series
Date posted: October 7, 2009
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