Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This thesis contains four related but self-contained essays, plus a short introductory chapter. The central theme is the rationality of agents' following rules, as opposed to discretionary action, in contexts where optimal plans under rational expectations are time-inconsistent. The first essay examines the rationality of keeping promises and of trusting that promises will be kept. The second essay argues that social institutions are identical to agents' following, and being believed to follow, rules of action, and uses this perspective to analyse the existence of property rights. The third essay uses the assumption of costly monitoring of worker malfeasance and hence imperfect trust to explain non-compensating wage-differentials between identical workers and equilibrium unemployment. The fourth essay presents a theory of strikes as the consequence of the rules of action followed by firm and worker to enforce a contingent wage contract under imperfectly symmetric information.



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