Professor Robert Gibbons to Talk on Relational Contracts April 9


Robert Gibbons, Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management at MIT's Sloan School of Management, will give the John R. Raben/Sullivan & Cromwell Fellowship Lecture on April 9, 2018, at 4:30 pm. His lecture will be titled "Discord (and Repair?) in Relational Contracts: An Introduction to Work in Progress." Gibbons will discuss how parties can navigate around small and major problems that arise over the contractual period so that the relationship survives.

Robert Gibbons is the Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management and a Professor of Applied Economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and he is Professor of Economics in MIT's Department of Economics. He is also the co-principal investigator for the Program on Innovation in Markets and Organizations at MIT Sloan (2002-present) and a fellow of the Econometrics Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Gibbons studies the design and performance of organizations and contracts, especially "relational contracts"—agreements so rooted in the parties' particular circumstances that they are not written down, so that disputes cannot be adjudicated by outsiders such as courts. These contracts arise frequently both within firms such as between headquarters and divisions—and between firms such as in alliances. In some cases, relational contracts appear to be the source of persistent performance differences among seemingly similar firms, plants, and work groups.

His book, Game Theory for Applied Economists (Princeton University Press, 1992), has been translated into Chinese, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. He co-edited the Handbook of Organizational Economics with John Roberts (Princeton University Press, 2013).

The John R. Raben/Sullivan & Cromwell Fellowship Lecture brings to the Law School a leading expert in securities law or accounting for business enterprises, who delivers a public lecture at the School.  It honors the memory of John R. Raben '39, a partner of the Sullivan & Cromwell firm, who was counsel to investment banking and accounting firms and associations, including the Financial Accounting Standards Board, and counsel to the industry task force that helped draft the Securities Investor Protection Corporation legislation.