Fixed Price Versus Spot Price Contracts: A Study in Risk Allocation
NBER Working Paper No. 1817 (Also Reprint No. r0939)
Thi spaper is concerned with the risk-allocation effects of alternative types of contracts used to set the price of a good tobe delivered in the future. Under a fixed price contract, the price is specified in advance. Under a spot price contract, the price is the price prevailing in the spot market at the time of delivery.These contract forms are examined in the context of a market in which sellers have uncertain production costs and buyers have uncertain valuations. The paper derives and interprets a general condition determining which contract form would be preferred when the seller and/or the buyer is risk averse. In addition, an example is provided in which a spot price contract with a floor price is superior both to a "pure" spot price contract and a fixed price contract.
Published: Polinsky, A. Mitchell. "Fixed Price versus Spot Price Contracts: A Study in Risk Allocation," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Vol. 3, No. 1, (Spring 1987), pp. 27-46.