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Incomplete Contracting, Renegotiation, and Expectation-Based Loss Aversion

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  • Fabian Herweg
  • Heiko Karle
  • Daniel Müller

Abstract

We consider a simple trading relationship between an expectation-based loss-averse buyer and profit-maximizing sellers. When writing a long-term contract the parties have to rely on renegotiations in order to ensure materially efficient trade ex post. The type of the concluded long-term contract affects the buyer’s expectations regarding the outcome of renegotiation. If the buyer expects renegotiation always to take place, the parties are always able to implement the materially efficient good ex post. It can be optimal for the buyer, however, to expect that renegotiation does not take place. In this case, a good of too high quality or too low quality is traded ex post. Based on the buyer’s expectation management, our theory provides a rationale for “employment contracts” in the absence of non-contractible investments. Moreover, in an extension with non-contractible investments, we show that loss aversion can reduce the hold-up problem.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4687.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4687

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Keywords: behavioral contract theory; expectation-based loss aversion; incomplete contracts; renegotiation;

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  1. Karle, Heiko & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Peitz, Martin, 2012. "Loss Aversion and Consumption Choice: Theory and Experimental Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 9183, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. 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.
  3. John A. List, 2011. "Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies? The Case of Exogenous Market Experience," NBER Working Papers 16908, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. J. Luis Guasch, 2004. "Granting and Renegotiating Infrastructure Concessions : Doing it Right," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15024, October.
  6. Rosato, Antonio, 2013. "Selling Substitute Goods to Loss-Averse Consumers: Limited Availability, Bargains and Rip-offs," MPRA Paper 47168, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Gill, David & Prowse, Victoria Liza, 2010. "A structural analysis of disappointment aversion in a real effort competition," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 1006, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  8. Heiko Karle, 2013. "Creating Attachment through Advertising: Loss Aversion and Pre–Purchase Information," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 13/177, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  9. Herweg, Fabian, 2013. "The expectation-based loss-averse newsvendor," Munich Reprints in Economics 19411, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  10. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
  11. Maija Halonen-Akatwijuka & Oliver D. Hart, 2013. "More is Less: Why Parties May Deliberately Write Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 19001, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. John A. List, 2003. "Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 41-71, February.
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