Academic Symposium | Relational Contracts: Theory and Practice

April 23, 2021 - April 24, 2021


Dates
Friday, April 23, 2021 - Saturday, April 24, 2021

Time
11:00 AM - 6:00 PM USA Central Standard Time (UTC -6)

Early Bird Discount Deadline

Friday, April 23, 2021

Registration Deadline
Thursday, April 22, 2021


Location
Online

Event Photo

Relational Contracts: Theory and Practice

Virtual Academic Symposium

Friday April 23, and Saturday April 24

(11am-6pm central standard time)


World Commerce & Contracting is proud to be sponsoring this event alongside The Centre for Corporate Reputation at Saïd School of Business, University of Oxford, the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago, the Becker-Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago and the Relational Contracts Workshop.

By registering to attend the event LIVE you consent to WorldCC passing your registration data to Oxford University.


SUMMARY: The first day will feature academics in conversations with executives from many industries exploring the contracting problems they face and novel solutions they have devised. The second day will have three panels, one focusing on the work of each of the sets of scholars. The papers will not be presented as participants will read them in advance. Rather, two short comments will be offered on each set of authors, one by an economist and the other by a legal academic. The day will conclude with a discussion led by Luigi Zingales, Tim Cummins and Chad Synverson on the implications of the proceedings for the theory of the firm.


DESCRIPTION: The study of relational contracts began with the pioneering work of Stewart Macaulay and Ian Macneil. Although these authors eschewed economics, the past decades have seen a burgeoning interest in the subject from both economists and legal scholars writing in the law and economics tradition. The goal of this online gathering is to further our understanding of relational contracts by bringing the business and legal people who draft, perform, and enforce them into a conversation with leading academics to see what theory can learn from real-world practices and what the real-world can learn from theory.

To focus our inquiry, we will look at three recent perspectives on relational contracts. We will draw on them to organize a conversation that can help advance the effort (on the level of both theory and the design of research projects) to better understand the mechanisms of effective contract governance.

The first perspective was developed by Oliver Hart, David Frydlinger and Kate Vitasek who put forth a new type of contract—the formal relational contract—that they view as an effective way to overcome the problems of contractual incompleteness, particularly in complex transactions. This approach highlights the importance of aligning perspectives as well as building trust and understanding during contract negotiation. It also suggests that contracts contain a legally binding obligation to act in accordance with six contracting norms—reciprocity, autonomy, honesty, integrity, loyalty and equity—to induce the parties to respond cooperatively to the inevitable problems arising from contractual incompleteness.

The second perspective, developed by Lisa Bernstein and Brad Peterson in the context of contracts between large integrated product manufactures and their suppliers of components (but present also in a number of other contexts), focuses on the ways that contracts between firms have come to incorporate a set of provisions—termed managerial provisions—that are analogues of the intra-firm management techniques explored in the World Management Survey. Although these managerial provisions are formal, clear, and detailed, they are not meaningfully legally enforceable, making them a species of formal relational contract, but one quite different from that described by Hart et al. These governance a more powerful force, and foster the growth of inter-firm and interpersonal trust.

The third approach was developed by Robert Gibbons and Rebecca Henderson. It looks at relational contracts within firms of different types from white collar firms to blue collar firms to salespeople on the Nordstrom floor (but the argument applies to relational contracts between firms as well as those within). Motivated by management practices that are known to be value-creating but do not diffuse to all firms that could benefit from them, this approach focuses on the role of “clarity” (in addition to the standard game-theoretic consideration of “credibility”) in allowing parties to develop relational contracts, suggesting that for many important relational contracts clarity cannot be instantaneously produced but instead must emerge through shared experience, and that interactions between (lack of) clarity and (lack of) credibility may cause attempts to develop relational contracts to founder.

Together these papers focus attention on contractual incompleteness both across and within firms and how these two sets of incomplete agreements (whose formal terms increasingly converge) interact. During our time together will consider the implications of these and other perspectives for relational contracts, contract governance and the theory of the firm.

On the first day, panels of three academics joined by others present will interview business executives, supply chain managers, lawyers working with particular types of contracts (tentatively manufacturing, pharmaceutical development and manufacturing, and business process outsourcing) and others tasked with the design and implementation of contracts with a view towards understanding how these transactions play out on the ground and how real-world actors view the building blocks of the ideas developed by the academics.

The second day starts with three sessions, one on each of the academic perspectives set out above. The papers will not be presented. Rather, the discussion will be kicked off by two 5 minute comments. The fourth session, led by Luigi Zingales, will be a discussion of the implications of the papers for the theory of the firm. We will conclude with a conversation about research yet to be done.

Confirmed Academic Participants:

Emilie Aguirre (Chicago)

Nick Argyres (Wash U)

Douglas Baird (Chicago)

Oren Bar-Gill (Harvard)

Dan Barron (Kellogg)

Sadie Blanchard (Notre Dame Law School)

Lisa Bernstein (Chicago)

Brian Bix (Minnesota)

Michelle Drake (Chicago)

Tore Ellingsen (Stockholm School of Economics)

Matthias Fahn (Johannes Kepler University Linz and CEPR)

Bob Gibbons (MIT)

Ronald Gilson (Columbia/Stanford)

Victor P. Goldberg, Columbia Law School

Gillian Hadfield (Toronto)

Maija Halonen-Akatwijuka (Bristol)

Robert Handfield (North Carolina State)

Henry Hansmann (Yale)

Oliver Hart (Harvard)

Daniel Hemel (University of Chicago Law School)

Rebecca Henderson (Harvard),

Richard Holden (UNSW)

Emily Kadens (Northwestern)

Mike Klausner (Stanford)

Dan Klerman (USC)

Francine La Fontaine (Michigan)

Henrik Lando (Copenhagen)

Regis Lanneau (University of Paris Nanterre)

W. Bentley Macleod (Columbia)

James Malcomson (Oxford)

Bruce Markell (Northwestern)

Claude Menard (Sorbonne)

David Miller (Michigan)

Ameet Morjaria (Northwestern)

Alan Morrison (Oxford)

Joan Neal (Chicago)

Joanne Oxley (Toronto)

Kish Parella (Washington & Lee)

Michael Powell (Northwestern)

Mark Ramseyer (Harvard)

Ray Reagans, MIT Sloan

Mari Sako (Oxford)

Rafella Sandun (Harvard)

Klaus Schmidt (LMU)

Robert Scott (Columbia)

Alan Schwartz (Yale)

Anja Shortland (Kings College London)

Brian Silverman (Toronto)

Kathryn Spier (Harvard)

Chad Syverson (Chicago)

George Triantis (Stanford)

Marta Troya-Martinez (New Economic School and CESinfo)

William Wilhelm (UVA)

Kate Vitasek (Tennessee)

David Weisbach (Chicago)

Rupert Younger (Oxford)

Georgio Zanarone (Wash U)

Christian Zehnder (HEC Lausanne)

Luigi Zingales (Chicago)

Confirmed Business/Legal Participants:

Theodore Banks (Scharf Banks Marmor LLC & Loyola Univ.)

Tim Cummins (WCC & Leeds)

David Frydlinger (Practice)

Marcia Glenn (formerly Kraft Foods)

Kristie Hamilton (General Motors)

Stella Katz (Philips Health Care, Supply Chain)

Wolfgang Kreutzer (P&G)

Will Morris (Rolls-Royce)

Robin Nuttall (McKinsey)

Christine Palumbo (Modelez Global)

Brad Peterson (Mayer Brown)

Ugur Sahin (BioNtech)

Paul Sim (Boeing)

We appreciate this is not time friendly for many members, but given the subject and speakers, we want to extend the invitation to everyone - and for those who can’t attend live, we offer the option of later access to content.


Registration Fees

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Member | FREE | Not attending, send the recording link
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Non Member | FREE | I will attend
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Non Member | FREE | Not attending, send the recording link
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Agenda

PROGRAMME SCHEDULE

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL TIMES SHOWN ARE US CENTRAL TIME ZONE (BST-6HRS)

Day 1: Relational contracts in action

11:00am to 11:15am

Welcome by Sally Guyer, Global CEO, World Commerce & Contracting

11:15am to 12:15pm

Biotech Alliances (Discussion leader: Rupert Younger)

In this session Ugur Sahin, Founder and CEO of BioNTech will be in conversation with Oliver Hart, Rupert Younger, Michael Klausner and Lisa Bernstein.

12:30pm-1:30pm

The Manufacturing Sector (Discussion leader: Tim Cummins)

Kristie Hamilton, Global Director of Global Purchasing and Manufacturing Services Operations and Transformation at General Motors, Paul Sim, Sr Director - Supply Chain Business Transformation at Boeing and Will Morris Chief Counsel for Rolls-Royce will join Mark Ramseyer, Mari Sako, and Lisa Bernstein and other participants in conversation

1:45pm-2:45pm

IT-Business Process Outsourcing (Discussion leader: Rupert Younger)

Robin Nuttall, Partner, and Head of Regulatory & Government Affairs Practice, McKinsey & Company, Wolfgang P. Kreutzer, Associate General Counsel – Associate Director, Legal Division - Global Transactions & IT Operations, The Procter & Gamble Company, Brad L. Peterson, Partner and Global Lead, Technology Transactions Practice, Mayer Brown LLP will join Kate Vitasek, Georgio Zanarone, Oliver Hart, George Triantis, and other participants in conversation

3:00pm-4:00pm

Contracting Challenges and Supplier Relations in Food Companies (Discussion leader: Lisa Bernstein)

Christine Palumbo, Senior Counsel, Sales & Food Service, Mondelez Global, Theodore Banks, Partner, Scharf Banks Marmor LLC, and Associate Adjunct Professor, Loyola University (Chicago) School of Law, Marcia Glenn, formerly Senior Vice President, Procurement, Kraft Foods, will join Emilie Aguirre, Douglas Baird, Robert Gibbons, Emily Kadens, Tim Cummins, and other participants in conversation

Day 2: Recent perspectives on relational contracts

Welcome by Rupert Younger, University of Oxford

11:00am-12:30pm

The first perspective

The first perspective was developed by Oliver Hart, David Frydlinger and Kate Vitasek who put forth a new type of contract—the formal relational contract—that they view as an effective way to overcome the problems of contractual incompleteness, particularly in complex transactions. This approach highlights the importance of aligning perspectives as well as building trust and understanding during contract negotiation. It also suggests that contracts contain a legally binding obligation to act in accordance with six contracting norms—reciprocity, autonomy, honesty, integrity, loyalty and equity—to induce the parties to respond cooperatively to the inevitable problems arising from contractual incompleteness.

Hart et al. (Moderator: Daniel Klerman)

Law Commentor: Douglas Baird

Econ Commentator: Henrik Lando

1:00pm-2:30pm

The second perspective

The second perspective, developed by Lisa Bernstein and Brad Peterson in the context of contracts between large integrated product manufactures and their suppliers of components (but present also in a number of other contexts), focuses on the ways that contracts between firms have come to incorporate a set of provisions—termed managerial provisions—that are analogues of the intra-firm management techniques explored in the World Management Survey. Although these managerial provisions are formal, clear, and detailed, they are not meaningfully legally enforceable, making them a species of formal relational contract, but one quite different from that described by Hart et al. These governance a more powerful force, and foster the growth of inter-firm and interpersonal trust.

Bernstein and Peterson (Moderator: Douglas Baird)

Law Commentator: Robert Scott

Econ Commentor: Brian Silverman

2:45pm-3:15pm

The third perspective

The third approach was developed by Robert Gibbons and Rebecca Henderson. It looks at relational contracts within firms of different types from white collar firms to blue collar firms to salespeople on the Nordstrom floor (but the argument applies to relational contracts between firms as well as those within). Motivated by management practices that are known to be value-creating but do not diffuse to all firms that could benefit from them, this approach focuses on the role of “clarity” (in addition to the standard game-theoretic consideration of “credibility”) in allowing parties to develop relational contracts, suggesting that for many important relational contracts clarity cannot be instantaneously produced but instead must emerge through shared experience, and that interactions between (lack of) clarity and (lack of) credibility may cause attempts to develop relational contracts to founder.

Gibbons and Henderson (Moderator: Alan Morrison)

Law Commentator: Oren Bar-Gill

Econ Commentator: Joanne Oxley

3:30pm-4:30pm

Implications for theory of the firm

Commentators: Luigi Zingales and Chad Syverson (Moderator: Tim Cummins)

4:30pm- 5:30pm

Future research: Towards a theoretical and practical agenda

Conversation led by Robert Gibbons.

Pre-event reading materials:

Day 2: Recent perspectives on relational contracts

The first perspective

The second perspective

The third perspective

Further Readings for Reflection

The first perspective

The third perspective

Speakers

Name Organization

CPD

Hotel

004719