Trust, Incomplete Contracting, and Corporate Innovation

Trust, Incomplete Contracting, and Corporate Innovation

Fei Xie, Bohui Zhang, Wenrui Zhang

Series number :

Serial Number: 

Date posted :

April 24 2019

Last revised :

July 08 2019
SSRN Share


  • Social trust • 
  • innovation • 
  • Incomplete contracting

Innovation is a contract intensive economic activity in a world of incomplete contracts. We show that trust mitigates incomplete contracting and enhances innovation by acting as an informal contracting mechanism, particularly in industries with high innovation potentials. Trust plays an especially important role in promoting innovation when formal laws and regulations are lacking.

We find that trust facilitates innovation by encouraging collaboration, fostering tolerance for failure, and easing firms’ access to capital. Our evidence highlights innovation as a key conduit through which trust affects economic growth.


Real name:
Research Member
University of Delaware, Lerner College of Business and Economics
Real name:
Bohui Zhang
Real name:
Wenrui Zhang