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Less Risk, More Effort : Demand Risk Allocation in Incomplete Contracts
LAMETA, University of Montpellier
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This article investigates the allocation of demand risk within an incomplete contract framework. We consider an incomplete contractual relationship between a public authority and a private provider (i.e. a public-private partnership), in which the latter invests in non-verifiable cost-reducing efforts and the former invests in non-verifiable adaptation efforts to respond to changing consumer demand over time. We show that the party that bears the demand risk has fewer hold-up opportunities and that this leads the other contracting party to make more effort. Thus, in our model, bearing less risk can lead to more effort, which we describe as a new example of âeuro~counter-incentivesâeuro?. We further show that when the benefits of adaptation are important, it is socially preferable to design a contract in which the demand risk remains with the private provider, whereas when the benefits of cost-reducing efforts are important, it is socially preferable to place the demand risk on the public authority. We then apply these results to explain two well-known case studies.
Public-Private Partnership, Incomplete Contract Theory, Contractual Design, Demand Risk, Counter-Incentives
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