Title

Contractual Intermediaries

Document Type

Discussion Paper

Publication Date

9-1-1999

CFDP Number

1235

CFDP Pages

38

Abstract

This paper analyzes the role of third party intermediaries, such as courts and arbitrators, in contract enforcement. In our model, intermediaries compel contracted transfers and resolve disputes when requested to do so by the contracting agents. When the verifiability of information is limited, successful enforcement requires that dispute resolution costs be sufficiently great. Optimal enforcement systems economize on dispute resolution and information costs, and may involve establishment of specific systems tailored to particular groups. We show further that the “holdup problem” may be resolved via an appropriately designed dispute resolution system.

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