On reputation - A microfoundation of contract enforcement and price rigidity

E. Fehr, M. Brown, C. Zehnder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

We study the impact of reputational incentives in markets characterised by moral hazard problems. Social preferences have been shown to enhance contract enforcement in these markets, while at the same time generating considerable wage and price rigidity. Reputation powerfully amplifies the positive effects of social preferences on contract enforcement by increasing contract efficiency substantially. This effect is, however, associated with a considerable bilateralisation of market interactions, suggesting that it may aggravate price rigidities. Surprisingly, reputation in fact weakens the wage and price rigidities arising from social preferences. Thus, in markets characterised by moral hazard, reputational incentives unambiguously increase mutually beneficial exchanges, reduce rents, and render markets more responsive to supply and demand shocks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-353
JournalEconomic Journal
Volume119
Issue number536
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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Microfoundations
Price rigidity
Contract enforcement
Social preferences
Wage rigidity
Incentives
Moral hazard
Demand shocks
Supply shocks
Market interaction
Rent

Cite this

Fehr, E., Brown, M., & Zehnder, C. (2009). On reputation - A microfoundation of contract enforcement and price rigidity. Economic Journal, 119(536), 333-353.
Fehr, E. ; Brown, M. ; Zehnder, C. / On reputation - A microfoundation of contract enforcement and price rigidity. In: Economic Journal. 2009 ; Vol. 119, No. 536. pp. 333-353.
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Fehr, E, Brown, M & Zehnder, C 2009, 'On reputation - A microfoundation of contract enforcement and price rigidity', Economic Journal, vol. 119, no. 536, pp. 333-353.

On reputation - A microfoundation of contract enforcement and price rigidity. / Fehr, E.; Brown, M.; Zehnder, C.

In: Economic Journal, Vol. 119, No. 536, 2009, p. 333-353.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AB - We study the impact of reputational incentives in markets characterised by moral hazard problems. Social preferences have been shown to enhance contract enforcement in these markets, while at the same time generating considerable wage and price rigidity. Reputation powerfully amplifies the positive effects of social preferences on contract enforcement by increasing contract efficiency substantially. This effect is, however, associated with a considerable bilateralisation of market interactions, suggesting that it may aggravate price rigidities. Surprisingly, reputation in fact weakens the wage and price rigidities arising from social preferences. Thus, in markets characterised by moral hazard, reputational incentives unambiguously increase mutually beneficial exchanges, reduce rents, and render markets more responsive to supply and demand shocks.

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