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Incomplete Contracting, Renegotiation, and Expectation-Based Loss Aversion

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  • Herweg, Fabian
  • Karle, Heiko
  • Müller, Daniel

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 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 454.

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Date of creation: 13 Feb 2014
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Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:454

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Keywords: Behavioral Contract Theory; Expectation-Based Loss Aversion; Incomplete Contracts; Renegotiation;

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  1. John List, 2011. "Does market experience eliminate market anomalies? The case of exogenous market experience," Framed Field Experiments 00178, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. John A. List, 2003. "Does Market Experience Eliminate Market Anomalies?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 41-71, February.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Herweg, Fabian, 2013. "The expectation-based loss-averse newsvendor," Munich Reprints in Economics 19411, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  11. Rosato, Antonio, 2013. "Selling Substitute Goods to Loss-Averse Consumers: Limited Availability, Bargains and Rip-offs," MPRA Paper 47168, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. J. Luis Guasch, 2004. "Granting and Renegotiating Infrastructure Concessions : Doing it Right," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15024, July.
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