“Dynamic Relational Contracts for Quality Enforcement in Supply Chains” by Professor Edieal PINKER
Professor Edieal PINKER
Professor of Operations Research
Yale School of Management
We model the interaction of a single buyer with a single supplier within a market in a developing country with homogeneous local suppliers and homogeneous buyers from developed nations. The buyer sources a product from a supplier and then inspects and sells it on the market subject to quality standards such as regulations about chemical content. Suppliers decide how much effort to exert to ensure compliance with quality standards. Buyers are assumed to comply with contracts because they are based in countries with strong legal systems. We assume that legal enforcement of the supplier's contractual obligations is not possible. We model the interaction between buyer and supplier as a repeated game in which the partnership can be terminated by the buyer if the supplier refuses to pay penalties for quality violation. After termination, the buyer and supplier start searching for a new business partner. We propose the use of relational contracts to manage the interaction between the buyer and seller. We show that optimal relational contracts have dynamic form in this setting because the value of the outside option available to the parties, if the relationship is terminated, is determined by the contract terms. We characterize the properties of the optimal dynamic equilibria.