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Buyer-Option Contracts Restored: Renegotiation, Inefficient Threats, and the Hold-Up Problem

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  • Thomas P. Lyon

Abstract

"Buyer-option" contracts, in which the buyer selects the product variant to be traded and chooses whether to accept delivery, are often used to solve holdup problems. We present a simple game that focuses sharply on subgames in which the buyer proposes inefficient actions in order to improve his bargaining position. We argue for one of several alternative ways to model this situation. We then apply that modeling choice to recent models of the foundations of incomplete contracts and show that a buyer-option contract is sufficient to induce first-best outcomes. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization.

Volume (Year): 20 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 148-169

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:20:y:2004:i:1:p:148-169

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References

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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Scholarly Articles 12375014, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Maskin, Eric, 2002. "On indescribable contingencies and incomplete contracts," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 725-733, May.
  3. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
  4. Nöldeke, Georg & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1995. "Option contracts and renegotiation: A solution to the Hold-Up Problem," Munich Reprints in Economics 19329, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. 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.
  6. Paul L. Joskow, 1990. "The Performance of Long-Term Contracts: Further Evidence from Coal Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(2), pages 251-274, Summer.
  7. Sutton, John, 1986. "Non-cooperative Bargaining Theory: An Introduction," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 709-24, October.
  8. Lyon, Thomas P & Huang, Haizhou, 2002. "Legal Remedies for Breach of the Regulatory "Contract."," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 107-32, September.
  9. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 257-82, March.
  10. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1993. "Investments, Holdup, and the Form of Market Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 811-37, September.
  11. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114, January.
  12. repec:cdl:ucsdec:142237 is not listed on IDEAS
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  14. Segal, Ilya, 1999. "Complexity and Renegotiation: A Foundation for Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 57-82, January.
  15. Watson, Joel, 2002. "Contract, Mechanism Design, and Technological Detail," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt18x0r2nn, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  16. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
  17. Ayres, Ian & Madison, Kristin, 2000. "Threatening inefficient performance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 818-828, May.
  18. 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.
  19. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Hoppe, Eva I. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2011. "Can contracts solve the hold-up problem? Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 186-199, September.
  2. Bernhard Ganglmair & Luke M. Froeb & Gregory J. Werden, 2012. "Patent Hold-Up and Antitrust: How A Well-Intentioned Rule Could Retard Innovation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(2), pages 249-273, 06.
  3. Buzard, Kristy & Watson, Joel, 2010. "Contract, Renegotiation, and Hold Up: Results on the Technology of Trade and Investment," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt3df3q4vg, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  4. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2009. "Contractual solutions to hold-up problems with quality uncertainty and unobservable investments," CEPR Discussion Papers 7584, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2006. "Book Review of “Contract Theory” (Bolton and Dewatripont, 2005)," MPRA Paper 6977, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Göller, Daniel & Stremitzer, Alexander, 2009. "Breach Remedies Including Hybrid Investments," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 282, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  7. Watson, Joel & Wignall, Chris, 2009. "Hold-Up and Durable Trading Opportunities," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt8p8284wg, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  8. Watson, Joel & Buzard, Kristy, 2009. "Contract, Renegotiation, and Hold Up: General Results on the Technology of Trade and Investment," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt3923q7kz, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  9. Watson, Joel, 2002. "Contract, Mechanism Design, and Technological Detail," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt18x0r2nn, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  10. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2010. "On contractual solutions to hold-up problems with quality uncertainty and unobservable investments," MPRA Paper 23157, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Matthew Ellman, 2004. "Specificity Revisited: The Role of Cross-Investments," Working Papers 150, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  12. Thomas P. Lyon & John W. Maxwell, 2012. "Self-Regulation, Negotiated Agreements and Social Welfare," Working Papers 2012-11, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  13. Antonio Nicita & Massimiliamo Vatiro, 2008. "Incomplete Contracts, Property Rights and Endogenous Outside Options," Department of Economics University of Siena 545, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  14. Goller, Daniel & Stremitzer, Alexander, 2009. "Breach Remedies Inducing Hybrid Investments," Working Papers 72, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  15. Zvika Neeman & Gregory Pavlov, 2010. "Renegotiation-proof Mechanism Design," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20101, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  16. Antonio Nicita & Massimiliano Vatiero, 2014. "Dixit versus Williamson: the ‘fundamental transformation’ reconsidered," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 439-453, June.

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