Institutions and Contract Enforcement

Falk, Armin; Huffman, David; MacLeod, W. Bentley

We conduct laboratory experiments where the market rules mimic labor market institutions, and exogenously vary institutions to study the causal impact on subjects’ behaviors. We focus on rules analogous to dismissal barrier institutions, such as employment protection legislation, and on institutions allowing bonus pay. We find that when constrained to fixed wage contracts, dismissal barriers reduce efficiency, but parties react by evolving rising compensation profiles. When the option to pay bonuses is introduced this completely offsets the negative effects of dismissal barriers. In the absence of dismissal barriers, bonus pay reduces frequency of repeated interactions, but leaves market efficiency unchanged.


More About This Work

Academic Units
National Bureau of Economic Research
NBER Working Paper, 13961
Published Here
December 6, 2013