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Information and the hold-up problem

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  • Benjamin E. Hermalin
  • Michael L. Katz

Abstract

We examine situations in which a party must make a sunk investment prior to contracting with a second party to purchase an essential complementary input. We study how the resulting hold-up problem is affected by the seller's information about the investing party's likely returns from its investment. Our principal focus is on the effects of the investment's being observable by the noninvesting party. We establish conditions under which the seller's ability to observe the buyer's investment harms the seller, benefits the buyer, and reduces equilibrium investment and total surplus. We also note conditions under which investment and welfare rise when investment is observable. Copyright (c) 2009, RAND..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by RAND Corporation in its journal The RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 40 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 405-423

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Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:40:y:2009:i:3:p:405-423

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  1. Gul, Faruk, 2001. "Unobservable Investment and the Hold-Up Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 343-76, March.
  2. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2001. "The Hold-Up Problem and Incomplete Contracts: A Survey of Recent Topics in Contract Theory," MPRA Paper 12562, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Francine Lafontaine & Kathryn L. Shaw, 1996. "The Dynamics of Franchise Contracting: Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 5585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Haucap, Justus & Wey, Christian, 2003. "Unionisation Structures and Innovation Incentives," Working Paper 21/2003, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
  5. Hemphill, C. Scott, 2008. "Network Neutrality and the False Promise of Zero-Price Regulation," Working paper 560, Regulation2point0.
  6. Joseph Farrell and Nancy T. Gallini., 1987. "Second-Sourcing as a Commitment: Monopoly Incentives to Attract Competition," Economics Working Papers 8760, University of California at Berkeley.
  7. Georg Nöldeke & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1992. "Option Contracts and Renegotiation - A Solution to the Hold-Up Problem," Discussion Paper Serie A 417, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Aug 1993.
  8. Georg Noeldeke & Klaus Schmidt, 1998. "Sequential Investments and Options to Own," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(4), pages 633-653, Winter.
  9. Stephanie Lau, 2008. "Information and bargaining in the hold-up problem," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 266-282.
  10. Donald B. Hausch & Yeon-Koo Che, 1999. "Cooperative Investments and the Value of Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 125-147, March.
  11. Edlin, Aaron S & Hermalin, Benjamin E, 2000. "Contract Renegotiation and Options in Agency Problems," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 395-423, October.
  12. DeGraba, Patrick, 1990. "Input Market Price Discrimination and the Choice of Technology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1246-53, December.
  13. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2008. "Incomplete contracts, the hold-up problem, and asymmetric information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 119-122, April.
  14. Jean Tirole, 1985. "Procurement and Renegotiation," Working papers 362, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  15. Klein, Benjamin, 1988. "Vertical Integration as Organizational Ownership: The Fisher Body-General Motors Relationship Revisited," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 199-213, Spring.
  16. Joel S. Demski & David E.M. Sappington, 1991. "Resolving Double Moral Hazard Problems with Buyout Agreements," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(2), pages 232-240, Summer.
  17. Rogerson, William P, 1992. "Contractual Solutions to the Hold-Up Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 777-93, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Bruno Jullien & Wilfried Sand-Zantman, 2014. "Pricing Internet Traffic: Exclusion, Signalling and Screening," CESifo Working Paper Series 4709, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Katz, Michael L., 2013. "Provider competition and healthcare quality: More bang for the buck?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 612-625.
  3. Maria Goltsman, 2011. "Optimal information transmission in a holdup problem," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(3), pages 495-526, 09.

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