The Explanation of Incomplete Contracts in Mainstream Contract Theory: A Critique of the Distinction between "Observable" and "Verifiable"

Lind Hans

Mainstream contract theory often makes a distinction between things that are observable by the contracting parties but not verifiable by a third party. This distinction has, e.g. been used to explain why contracts are incomplete in some dimensions and claimed to provide the foundations of incomplete contract theory.

This article sets out to scrutinize the assumption and argues that if something is observable by the parties, the parties can ex ante, without prohibitive costs, make these features verifiable by a third party. This implies that the distinction between observable and verifiable cannot be a fundamental explanation for incomplete contracts. Ex post it can be difficult to verify statements by a third party, but then it must be explained why the parties had not ex ante taken measures to make it possible to verify ex post. A number of such explanations are discussed in the paper. The arguments put forward are based on two detailed examples and also supported by important theories from the philosophy of language, which underline that concepts must be related to something observable in order to be learnt.

MEET US


25-27
Aug

ICTTP 2020

ICTTP, International Conference on Traffic and Transport Psychology, is held in Gothenburg, Sweden.

LATEST NEWS


2018-11-19

Report regarding government commission on the costs of traffic to society has been submitted

Since 2013, the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) has had several government commissions to produce documentation on the costs to society caused by traffic. On 1 November 2018, the agency reported its latest commission, Samkost 3....


2018-10-29

International standardisation efforts have many advantages

VTI participates in several international standardisation committees. The work is important because it helps to ensure that standards can be adapted to Swedish conditions and it also provides access to valuable contacts and networks.


2018-10-24

China wants to work with the best

Through the CTS cooperation, VTI is gaining valuable research contacts with China. The country is facing major challenges in the field of road safety but also has enormous potential.


2018-10-23

VTI participated in conference on electric roads

Systems with electrified roads are a relatively new concept and many projects have been launched in recent years. To stimulate the transfer of knowledge and collaboration, the Research and Innovation Platform for Electric Roads arranged its second...


2018-10-18

ADAS&ME is tackling the interaction between people and technology

ADAS&ME is a major EU project focused on automation, the human condition and the human environment. The budget is EUR 9.6 million and VTI is the coordinator.


2018-10-05

Users contribute to the development of train simulators

Apart from advanced driving simulators, VTI has developed several variations of train simulators which are used for training, education and research. In recent years, interest has increased drastically among major actors in the railway sector, and VTI has...