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Contract Theory
From a legal point of view, a contract is an institutional arrangement for the way in which resources flow, which defines the various relationships between the parties to a transaction or limits the rights and obligations of the parties. From an economic perspective, contract theory studies how economic actors can and do construct contractual arrangements, generally in the presence of information asymmetry. Because of its connections with both agency and incentives, contract theory is often categorized within a field known as law and economics. One prominent application of it is the design of optimal schemes of managerial compensation. In the field of economics, the first formal treatment of this topic was given by Kenneth Arrow in the 1960s. In 2016, Oliver Hart and Bengt R. Holmström both received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for their work on contract theory, covering many topics from CEO pay to privatizations. Holmström ( MIT) focused more on the connec ...
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Information Asymmetry
In contract theory and economics, information asymmetry deals with the study of decisions in transactions where one party has more or better information than the other. Information asymmetry creates an imbalance of power in transactions, which can sometimes cause the transactions to be inefficient, causing market failure in the worst case. Examples of this problem are adverse selection, moral hazard, and monopolies of knowledge. A common way to visualise information asymmetry is with a scale with one side being the seller and the other the buyer. When the seller has more or better information the transaction will more likely occur in the seller's favour ("the balance of power has shifted to the seller"). An example of this could be when a used car is sold, the seller is likely to have a much better understanding of the car's condition and hence its market value than the buyer, who can only estimate the market value based on the information provided by the seller and their own a ...
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Theory Of The Second Best
In welfare economics, the theory of the second best (also known as the general theory of second best or the second best theorem) concerns the situation when one or more optimality conditions cannot be satisfied. The economists Richard Lipsey and Kelvin Lancaster showed in 1956, that if one optimality condition in an economic model cannot be satisfied, it is possible that the next-best solution involves changing other variables away from the values that would otherwise be optimal. Politically, the theory implies that if it is infeasible to remove a particular market distortion, introducing one or more ''additional'' market distortions in an interdependent market may partially counteract the first, and lead to a more efficient outcome. Implications In an economy with some uncorrectable market failure in one sector, actions to correct market failures in another related sector with the intent of increasing economic efficiency may actually decrease overall economic efficiency. In th ...
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Theory Of The Firm
The theory of the firm consists of a number of economic theories that explain and predict the nature of the firm, company, or corporation, including its existence, behaviour, structure, and relationship to the market. Firms are key drivers in economics, providing goods and services in return for monetary payments and rewards. Organisational structure, incentives, employee productivity, and information all influence the successful operation of a firm in the economy and within itself. As such major economic theories such as Transaction cost theory, Managerial economics and Behavioural theory of the firm will allow for an in-depth analysis on various firm and management types. Overview In simplified terms, the theory of the firm aims to answer these questions: # Existence. Why do firms emerge? Why are not all transactions in the economy mediated over the market? # Boundaries. Why is the boundary between firms and the market located exactly there in relation to size and output var ...
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Incomplete Contracts
In economic theory, the field of contract theory can be subdivided in the theory of complete contracts and the theory of incomplete contracts. In contract law, an incomplete contract is one that is defective or uncertain in a material respect. A complete contract in economic theory means a contract which provides for the rights, obligations and remedies of the parties in every possible state of the world. However, since the human mind is a scarce resource and the mind cannot collect, process, and understand an infinite amount of information, economic actors are limited in their rationality (the limitations of the human mind in understanding and solving complex problems) and one cannot anticipate all possible contingencies. Or perhaps because it is too expensive to write a complete contract, the parties will opt for a "sufficiently complete" contract. In short, every contract is incomplete for a variety of reasons and limitations. The incompleteness of a contract also means that the ...
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Complete Contract
A complete contract is an important concept from contract theory. If the parties to an agreement could specify their respective rights and duties for every possible future state of the world, their contract would be complete. There would be no gaps in the terms of the contract. However, because it would be prohibitively expensive to write a complete contract, contracts in the real world are usually incomplete. When a dispute arises and the case falls into a gap in the contract, either the parties must engage in bargaining or the courts must step in and fill in the gap. The idea of a complete contract is closely related to the notion of default rules, e.g. legal rules that will fill the gap in a contract in the absence of an agreed upon provision. In economics, the field of contract theory From a legal point of view, a contract is an institutional arrangement for the way in which resources flow, which defines the various relationships between the parties to a transaction or li ...
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Michael Spence
Andrew Michael Spence (born November 7, 1943) is a Canadian-American economist and Nobel laureate. Spence is the William R. Berkley Professor in Economics and Business at the Stern School of Business at New York University, and the Philip H. Knight Professor of Management, Emeritus, and Dean, Emeritus, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Together with George A. Akerlof and Joseph E. Stiglitz, Spence is a co-recipient of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, "for their analyses of markets with asymmetric information." Career Spence is noted for his job-market signaling model, which inspired research into this branch of contract theory. In this model, employees signal their respective skills to employers by acquiring a certain degree of education, which is costly to them. Employers will pay higher wages to more educated employees, because they know that the proportion of employees with high abilities is higher among the educated ones, as it is less costly f ...
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Bounded Rationality
Bounded rationality is the idea that rationality is limited when individuals make decisions, and under these limitations, rational individuals will select a decision that is satisfactory rather than optimal. Limitations include the difficulty of the problem requiring a decision, the cognitive capability of the mind, and the time available to make the decision. Decision-makers, in this view, act as satisficers, seeking a satisfactory solution, with everything that they have at the moment rather than an optimal solution. Therefore, humans do not undertake a full cost-benefit analysis to determine the optimal decision, but rather, choose an option that fulfils their adequacy criteria. An example of this being within organisations when they must adhere to the operating conditions of their company, this has the opportunity to result in bounded rationality as the organisation is not able to choose the optimal option. Some models of human behavior in the social sciences assume that ...
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Social Preferences
Social preferences describe the human tendency to not only care about one's own material payoff, but also the reference group's payoff or/and the intention that leads to the payoff. Social preferences are studied extensively in behavioral and experimental economics and social psychology. Types of social preferences include altruism, fairness, reciprocity, and inequity aversion. The field of economics originally assumed that humans were rational economic actors, and as it became apparent that this was not the case, the field began to change. The research of social preferences in economics started with lab experiments in 1980, where experimental economists found subjects' behavior deviated systematically from self-interest behavior in economic games such as ultimatum game and dictator game. These experimental findings then inspired various new economic models to characterize agent's altruism, fairness and reciprocity concern between 1990 and 2010. More recently, there are growing amo ...
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Eric Maskin
Eric Stark Maskin (born December 12, 1950) is an American economist and mathematician. He was jointly awarded the 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Leonid Hurwicz and Roger Myerson "for having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory". He is the Adams University Professor and Professor of Economics and Mathematics at Harvard University. Until 2011, he was the Albert O. Hirschman Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, and a visiting lecturer with the rank of professor at Princeton University.Economics professor wins Nobel – The Daily Princetonian


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Roger Myerson
Roger Bruce Myerson (born March 29, 1951) is an American economist and professor at the University of Chicago. He holds the title of the David L. Pearson Distinguished Service Professor of Global Conflict Studies at The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts in the Harris School of Public Policy, the Griffin Department of Economics, and the college. Previously, he held the title The Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor of Economics. In 2007, he was the winner of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel with Leonid Hurwicz and Eric Maskin for "having laid the foundations of mechanism design theory." He was elected a Member of the American Philosophical Society in 2019. Biography Roger Myerson was born in 1951 in Boston. He attended Harvard University, where he received his A.B., ''summa cum laude'', and S.M. in applied mathematics in 1973. He completed his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Harvard Universi ...
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Health Insurance
Health insurance or medical insurance (also known as medical aid in South Africa) is a type of insurance that covers the whole or a part of the risk of a person incurring medical expenses. As with other types of insurance, risk is shared among many individuals. By estimating the overall risk of health risk and health system expenses over the risk pool, an insurer can develop a routine finance structure, such as a monthly premium or payroll tax, to provide the money to pay for the health care benefits specified in the insurance agreement. The benefit is administered by a central organization, such as a government agency, private business, or not-for-profit entity. According to the Health Insurance Association of America, health insurance is defined as "coverage that provides for the payments of benefits as a result of sickness or injury. It includes insurance for losses from accident, medical expense, disability, or accidental death and dismemberment". Background A healt ...
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Agent (law)
The law of agency is an area of commercial law dealing with a set of contractual, quasi-contractual and non-contractual fiduciary relationships that involve a person, called the agent, that is authorized to act on behalf of another (called the principal) to create legal relations with a third party. Succinctly, it may be referred to as the equal relationship between a principal and an agent whereby the principal, expressly or implicitly, authorizes the agent to work under their control and on their behalf. The agent is, thus, required to negotiate on behalf of the principal or bring them and third parties into contractual relationship. This branch of law separates and regulates the relationships between: * agents and principals (internal relationship), known as the principal-agent relationship; * agents and the third parties with whom they deal on their principals' behalf (external relationship); and * principals and the third parties when the agents deal. Concepts The recip ...
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