The Economics of Contracts: Theories and Applications

By Eric Brousseau; Jean-Michel Glachant | Go to book overview

A contract is an agreement under which two parties make reciprocal commitments in terms of their behavior to coordinate. As this concept has become essential to economics in the last thirty years, three main theoretical frameworks have emerged: “incentive theory, ” “incompletecontract theory, ” and “transaction-costs theory. ” These frameworks have enabled scholars to renew both the microeconomics of coordination (with implications for industrial organization, labor economics, law and economics, and organization design) and the macroeconomics of “market” (decentralized) economies and of the institutional framework. These developments have resulted in new analyses of firms' strategy and State intervention (regulation of public utilities, anti-trust, public procurement, institutional design, liberalization policies, etc.). Based on contributions by the leading scholars in the field, this book provides an overview of the past and recent developments in these analytical currents, presents their various aspects, and proposes expanding horizons for theoreticians and practitioners.

Eric Brousseau is Professor of Economics at the University of Paris X and member of the Institut Universitaire de France. He is the director of the department GIFT of FORUM (University of Paris X and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), and associate researcher at ATOM (University of Paris I). He coordinates a CNRS research consortium on Information Technologies and the Society, and organizes the European School on New Institutional Economics. He is member of the Boards of the International Society for New Institutional Economics and of the Schumpeter Society.

Jean-Michel Glachant is Head of the Department of Economics at the University of Paris XI. He is a member of the International Society for New Institutional Economics, the International Association for Energy Economics, and the Association Fran¸caise de Science Economique, as well as head of the Electricity Reforms Group at the ADIS research centre.

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