Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2005

Center/Program

Center for Contract and Economic Organization

Center/Program

Center for Law and Economic Studies

Abstract

Long-term contracts are designed to manage risk. After a brief discussion of why it is unhelpful to invoke risk aversion for analyzing serious commercial transactions between sophisticated entities, this paper focuses on adaptation to changed circumstances. In particular, it considers the options to abandon and the discretion to change quantity. It then analyzes a poorly designed contract between Alcoa and Essex showing how the parties misframed their problem and designed a long-term contract that was doomed to fail.

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