1932

Abstract

This article reviews an emerging body of evidence on relational contracts, defined as informal arrangements sustained by the value of future interactions. We focus on developing and international markets, which are often characterized as contexts with weak formal contract enforcement. We introduce relational contracting between firms as a governance form alternative to both firms and markets. We then review evidence on the prevalence of long-term relationships between firms and discuss why this governance form might be particularly common in developing countries. After introducing a simple framework, we discuss the measurement of relational contracting between firms. We review an approach that takes dynamic incentive compatibility constraints to the data to quantify the value of future interactions and illustrate how different types of shocks can be used to uncover the inner functioning of relational contracting. We also review structural models and conclude with policy implications and promising avenues for future research.

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2022-08-12
2024-04-15
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