Nabil Ibraheem Al-Najjar

Reputation, Product Quality, and Warranties

This paper studies the firm’s choice between implicit and explicit contracts as alternative methods of assuring product quality. The relationship between these two contractual forms is studied using a dynamic model with imperfect monitoring and team moral hazard where both the firm and the consumer take unobservable actions that affect product performance. The firm chooses the contractual arrangement that maximizes expected profit. Identified are conditions on the primitive attributes of the transactions and on the firm’s environment that can help explain why firms might decide to use explicit contracting, implicit contracting, or a combination of the two. I also show that there are conditions under which the introduction of reputation causes explicit contracts to be more uniform and less sensitive to the details of the transaction than implied by static models.