Ambiguity Aversion and Incompleteness of Contractual Form
Posted: 15 May 1998
Subjective uncertainty is characterized by ambiguity if the decision maker has an imprecise knowledge of the probabilities of payoff relevant events. In such an instance, the decision maker's beliefs are better represented by a set of probability functions than by a unique probability function. An ambiguity averse decision maker adjusts his choice on the side of caution in response to his imprecise knowledge of the odds. The non-additive expected utility model allows a formal characterization of such behavior. Using this model, this paper shows that ambiguity aversion can explain the existence of incomplete contracts. The setting for the demonstration is the investment hold-up model which has been the focus of much of the recent research on the implications of incomplete contracts.
JEL Classification: D23, D8, L22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation