Professor James Malcomson FBA


Elected 2000

Fellow type
UK Fellow
Year elected

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

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

2014 -

University of Oxford Professor of Economics and Fellow of All Souls College

1999 -

University of Southampton Professor of Economics

1985 - 1998

University of York Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Economics

1972 - 1985


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

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