The Hold-up Problem Under Common Agency
AbstractMany real world transactions occur in a common agency environment in which an agent interacts with several principals having competing interests. The hold-up literature, however, has so far neglected to investigate common agency transactions. In this paper, we consider the hold-up problem that arises in a context where there are a monopolistic seller and multiple buyers on the one side and all the parties on the other are required to make specific self-investments. Our contribution is twofold. First, we show that absent initial contracts (i.e., preliminary agreements) between the parties, total efficiency increases when the buyers act competitively using implicit contractual coordination, i.e., contractual menus. Second, we show that introducing initial simple contracts allows parties to reach the first best only under cooperative common agency. Absent this machinery, competition among the principals emerges as a more efficient governance structure for common agency in incomplete transactions.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics, University of Siena in its series Department of Economics University of Siena with number 636.
Date of creation: May 2012
Date of revision:
incomplete contracts; common agency; mechanism design;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- K12 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Contract Law
- L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
- J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
- C70 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-07-01 (All new papers)
- NEP-BEC-2012-07-01 (Business Economics)
- NEP-COM-2012-07-01 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-CTA-2012-07-01 (Contract Theory & Applications)
- NEP-LAW-2012-07-01 (Law & Economics)
- NEP-MIC-2012-07-01 (Microeconomics)
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