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Hold-Up, Asset Ownership, and Reference Points-super-

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  • Oliver Hart

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

We study two parties who desire a smooth trading relationship under conditions of value and cost uncertainty. A contract fixing price works well in normal times because there is nothing to argue about. However, when value or cost is unusually high or low, one party will deviate from the contract and hold up the other party, causing deadweight losses as parties withhold cooperation. We show that allocating asset ownership and indexing contracts can reduce the incentives to engage in hold-up. In contrast to much of the literature, the driving force in our model is payoff uncertainty, rather than noncontractible investments. (c) 2009 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 124 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 267-300

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:1:p:267-300

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Cited by:
  1. Oliver D. Hart, 2011. "Noncontractible Investments and Reference Points," NBER Working Papers 16929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bester, Helmut, 2009. "Investments and the Holdup Problem in a Matching Market," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 263, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  3. Oliver Hart & Bengt Holmstrom, 2010. "A Theory of Firm Scope," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(2), pages 483-513, May.
  4. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2010. "Contractual solutions to hold-up problems with quality uncertainty and unobservable investments," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(5), pages 807-816, September.
  5. Herweg, Fabian & Schmidt, Klaus, 2013. "Loss Aversion and Ex Post Inefficient Renegotiation," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79772, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  6. Hoppe, Eva I. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2009. "Can Contracts Solve the Hold-Up Problem? Experimental Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 7205, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Halonen-Akatwijuka, Maija, 2012. "Nature of human capital, technology and ownership of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 939-945.
  8. Mathias Erlei & Wiebke Roß, 2013. "Bounded Rationality as an Essential Ingredient of the Holdup Problem," TUC Working Papers in Economics 0009, Abteilung für Volkswirtschaftslehre, Technische Universität Clausthal (Department of Economics, Technical University Clausthal).
  9. Akitoshi Muramoto, 2013. "Strategic Determination of Renegotiation Costs," KIER Working Papers 877, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
  10. Thorsten V. Braun & Sebastian Krispin & Erik E. Lehmann, 2009. "Entrepreneurial Human Capital, Complementary Assets, and Takeover Probability," Discussion Paper Series 307, Universitaet Augsburg, Institute for Economics.
  11. Berde, Éva, 2013. "A fundamentális transzformáció és a referenciapont szerepe a hiányos szerződések elméletében
    [The role of basic transformation and reference point in the theory of incomplete contracts]
    ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(7), pages 865-885.
  12. Bernard Baudry & Virgile Chassagnon, 2012. "The vertical network organization as a specific governance structure: what are the challenges for incomplete contracts theories and what are the theoretical implications for the boundaries of the (hub," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 285-303, May.
  13. Thomas F. Hellmann & Veikko Thiele, 2012. "A Theory of the Firm based on Partner Displacement," NBER Working Papers 18495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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