DP9571 | Building Reputation for Contract Renewal: Implications for Performance Dynamics and Contract Duration

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We study how career concerns affect the dynamics of incentives in a multi-period contract, when the agent?s productivity is a stochastic function of his past productivity and investment. We show that incentives are stronger and performance is higher when the contract approaches its expiry date. Contrary to common wisdom, long-term contracts may strengthen reputational effects whereas short-term contracting may be optimal when investment has persistent, long-term effects.