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Signaling an Outside Option

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  • Ohlendorf, Susanne
  • Schmitz, Patrick

Abstract

We consider the case of an upstream seller who works to improve an asset that has been specialized to a downstream buyer's needs. The buyer then makes a take it or leave it offer to the seller about how the future surplus should be split. We assume that the seller from the outset has private information about the fraction of the surplus that he can realize on his own, and show that this leads to higher investment compared to the complete information case. This positive effect on investment is countervailed by the occurrence of inefficient separations, which result when the buyer mistakenly tries to call the seller's bluff with a low offer.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 281.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:281

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Related research

Keywords: signaling; relationship-specific investment; incomplete contracts; outside options;

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References

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  1. Jullien, Bruno, 1997. "Participation Constraints in Adverse Selection Models," IDEI Working Papers 67, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. Ben Hermalin, 1996. "Toward an Economic Theory of Leadership: Leading by Example," Working Papers _006, University of California at Berkeley, Haas School of Business.
  3. David De Meza & Ben Lockwood, 1998. "Does Asset Ownership Always Motivate Managers? Outside Options And The Property Rights Theory Of The Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 361-386, May.
  4. Chiu, Y Stephen, 1998. "Noncooperative Bargaining, Hostages, and Optimal Asset Ownership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 882-901, September.
  5. 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.
  6. F. Gul, 2000. "Unobservable Investment and the Hold-Up Problem," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 00s10, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  7. Philippe Choné & Laurent Linnemer, 2008. "Optimal Litigation Strategies with Signaling and Screening," CESifo Working Paper Series 2334, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Sloof, Randolph, 2008. "Price-setting power vs. private information: An experimental evaluation of their impact on holdup," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 469-486, April.
  9. Weiss, Andrew, 1983. "A Sorting-cum-Learning Model of Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 420-42, June.
  10. James M. Malcomson, 1997. "Contracts, Hold-Up, and Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 1916-1957, December.
  11. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  12. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2006. "Hidden Talents: Partnerships with Pareto-Improving Private Information," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0613, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  13. Farrell, Joseph & Gibbons, Robert, 1995. "Cheap Talk about Specific Investments," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 313-34, October.
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