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Fairness, Incentives and Contractual Incompleteness


Fehr, Ernst; Klein, Alexander; Schmidt, Klaus M (2001). Fairness, Incentives and Contractual Incompleteness. Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics No. 72, University of Zurich.

Abstract

We show that concerns for fairness may have dramatic consequences for the optimal provision of incentives in a moral hazard context. Incentive contracts that are optimal when there are only selfish actors become inferior when some agents are concerned about fairness. Conversely, contracts that are doomed to fail when there are only selfish actors provide powerful incentives and become superior when there are also fair-minded players. These predictions are strongly supported by the results of a series of experiments. Furthermore, our results suggest that the existence of fair actors may be an important reason why many contracts are left deliberately incomplete.

Abstract

We show that concerns for fairness may have dramatic consequences for the optimal provision of incentives in a moral hazard context. Incentive contracts that are optimal when there are only selfish actors become inferior when some agents are concerned about fairness. Conversely, contracts that are doomed to fail when there are only selfish actors provide powerful incentives and become superior when there are also fair-minded players. These predictions are strongly supported by the results of a series of experiments. Furthermore, our results suggest that the existence of fair actors may be an important reason why many contracts are left deliberately incomplete.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Institute for Empirical Research in Economics (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:February 2001
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 21:26
Last Modified:03 Oct 2022 14:15
Series Name:Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics
ISSN:1424-0459
OA Status:Green
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html