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Professor James Malcomson FBA

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About this Fellow

James Malcomson was Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of All Souls College from 1999 to 2013. He has a PhD in economics from Harvard University, previously taught economics at the universities of York and Southampton, and is a Fellow of the Econometric Society. His research has focussed primarily on the economics of contracts, especially their implications for labour markets and provision of health services. In these, as in many other services, important aspects of the quality of service are difficult to specify contractually in advance in a legally enforceable way. Two important issues then arise: (1) how best to structure the contract so that what the parties want is actually provided and (2) what the implications are for delivery of services. He has particular interest in the economics of relational contracts, on-going relationships with important contractual details that are legally unenforceable. These pervade economic life, especially employment and provision of complex services such as health care. He chaired the Commission on Competition in the NHS set up by the Office of Health Economics that reported in January 2012 and has been appointed a member of the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration, 2015-2021.



Current post

  • Emeritus Professor, University of Oxford; Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford

Past Appointments

  • Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of York, 1972 - 1985
  • Professor of Economics, University of Southampton, 1985 - 1998
  • Professor of Economics and Fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford, 1999
  • Emeritus Professor, University of Oxford; Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College, University of Oxford, 2014


Relational incentive contracts with persistent private information Econometrica 84(1) 2016


Motivation and markets American Economic Review 88(3) 1998


Implicit contracts, incentive compatibility, and involuntary unemployment Econometrica 57(2) 1989


Work incentives, hierarchy, and internal labour markets J Political Economy 92(3) 1984


Reputation and hierarchy in dynamic models of employment J Political Economy 96(4) 1988


Investments, holdup and the form of market contracts American Economic Review 83(4) 1993


Other Economics and Economic History Fellows

Professor Carol Propper

The economics of health and health care; the role for markets, pseudo-market mechanisms and financial incentives in the delivery of public services

Professor Roger Backhouse

The history of economics, focusing on the twentieth century, including applied economics, macroeconomics, economics and the other social sciences, Maynard Keynes and Paul Samuelson

Professor Dimitri Vayanos

Financial markets; liquidity and market imperfections; bubbles and crashes; asset management; interest rates; government debt policy; financial regulation; behavioural economics and finance; organizations