Contract Renegotiation in Agency Problems
AbstractThis paper studies the ability of an agent and a principal to achieve the first-best outcome when the agent invests in an asset that has greater value if owned by the principal than by the agent. When contracts can be renegotiated, a well-known danger is that the principal can holdup the agent, undermining the agent's investment incentives. We begin by identifying a countervailing effect: Investment by the agent can increase his value for the asset, thus improving his bargaining position in renegotiation. We show that option contracts will achieve the first best whenever this threat-point effect dominates the holdup effect. Otherwise, achieving the first best is difficult and, in many cases, impossible. In such cases, we show that if parties have an appropriate signal available, then the first best is still attainable for a wide class of bargaining procedures. A noisy signal, however, means that the optimal contract will involve terms that courts might view as punitive and so refuse to enforce.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by EconWPA in its series Microeconomics with number 9705002.
Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 23 May 1997
Date of revision:
Note: Type of Document - PDF; prepared on IBM PC ; pages: 33; figures: included
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Contract renegotiation; double moral hazard; relationship- specific investment;
Other versions of this item:
- D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
- C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
- K12 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Contract Law
- L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
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