We study how relational contracts mitigate Becker's classic problem of providing general human capital when training contracts are incomplete. The firm's profit-maximizing agreement is a multiperiod apprenticeship in which the novice is trained gradually over time and eventually receives all knowledge. The firm adopts a 1/e rule, whereby at the beginning of the relationship the novice is trained, for free, just enough to produce a fraction 1/e of the efficient output. After that, the novice earns all additional knowledge with labor. This rule causes inefficiently lengthy relationships that grow longer the more patient the players. A minimum wage is welfare enhancing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics