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How do informal agreements and renegotiation shape contractual reference points?

Author: Ernst Fehr; Oliver D Hart; Christian Zehnder; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, ©2011.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 17545.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Previous experimental work provides encouraging support for some of the central assumptions underlying Hart and Moore (2008)'s theory of contractual reference points. However, existing studies ignore realistic aspects of trading relationships such as informal agreements and ex post renegotiation. We investigate the relevance of these features experimentally. Our evidence indicates that the central behavioral  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Fehr, Ernst.
How do informal agreements and renegotiation shape contractual reference points?.
Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, ©2011
(DLC) 2011657454
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Ernst Fehr; Oliver D Hart; Christian Zehnder; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 759399646
Notes: Title from http://www.nber.org/papers/17545 viewed Nov. 2, 2011.
"October 2011."
Description: 1 online resource (53 pages) : illustrations.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 17545.
Responsibility: Ernst Fehr, Oliver D. Hart, Christian Zehnder.

Abstract:

Previous experimental work provides encouraging support for some of the central assumptions underlying Hart and Moore (2008)'s theory of contractual reference points. However, existing studies ignore realistic aspects of trading relationships such as informal agreements and ex post renegotiation. We investigate the relevance of these features experimentally. Our evidence indicates that the central behavioral mechanism underlying the concept of contractual reference points is robust to the presence of informal agreements and ex post renegotiation. However, our data also reveal new behavioral features that suggest refinements of the theory. In particular, we find that the availability of informal agreements and ex post renegotiation changes how trading parties evaluate ex post outcomes. Interestingly, the availability of these additional options affects ex post evaluations even in situations in which the parties do not use them.

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