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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / Zulehner, Christine / Schirle, Tammy


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1935-1682
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Trade and Contract Enforcement

James E Anderson1 / Leslie Young2

1Boston College,

2Chinese University of Hong Kong,

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. Volume 5, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, ISSN (Print) 2194-6108, DOI: 10.1515/1538-0645.1574, November 2006

Publication History

Published Online:
2006-11-13

Abstract

We model imperfect contract enforcement when the victims of default resort to spot trading because the act of repudiation reveals a favorable outside option. We show that enforcement imperfection is essentially distinct from the contract incompleteness analyzed in the previous literature. Improved contract execution benefits traders on the excess side of the spot market by attracting potential counter-parties, but harms them by impeding their exit from unfavorable contracts. Multiple optima are possible, with anarchy a local optimum, perfect enforcement a local minimum and imperfect enforcement a global optimum. LDCs exhibit parameter combinations such that imperfect enforcement may often be optimal.

Keywords: contract enforcement; trade; institutions

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