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Information and the hold-up problem

  • Benjamin E. Hermalin
  • Michael L. Katz

We examine situations in which a party must make a sunk investment prior to contracting with a second party to purchase an essential complementary input. We study how the resulting hold-up problem is affected by the seller's information about the investing party's likely returns from its investment. Our principal focus is on the effects of the investment's being observable by the noninvesting party. We establish conditions under which the seller's ability to observe the buyer's investment harms the seller, benefits the buyer, and reduces equilibrium investment and total surplus. We also note conditions under which investment and welfare rise when investment is observable. Copyright (c) 2009, RAND..

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Article provided by RAND Corporation in its journal The RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 40 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 405-423

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Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:40:y:2009:i:3:p:405-423
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  1. Farrell, Joseph & Gallini, Nancy T., 1986. "Second-sourcing as a Commitment: Monopoly Incentives to Attract Competition," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt8zs1p5cc, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Gul, Faruk, 2001. "Unobservable Investment and the Hold-Up Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 343-76, March.
  3. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2001. "The Hold-Up Problem and Incomplete Contracts: A Survey of Recent Topics in Contract Theory," MPRA Paper 12562, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Rogerson, William P, 1992. "Contractual Solutions to the Hold-Up Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 777-93, October.
  5. Nöldeke, Georg & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "Sequential investments and options to own," Munich Reprints in Economics 19327, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. repec:att:wimass:9714 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2008. "Incomplete contracts, the hold-up problem, and asymmetric information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 119-122, April.
  8. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Procurement and Renegotiation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 235-59, April.
  9. Justus Haucap & Christian Wey, 2004. "Unionisation structures and innovation incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages C149-C165, 03.
  10. Francine Lafontaine & Kathryn L. Shaw, 1999. "The Dynamics of Franchise Contracting: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(5), pages 1041-1080, October.
  11. 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.
  12. DeGraba, Patrick, 1990. "Input Market Price Discrimination and the Choice of Technology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1246-53, December.
  13. Stephanie Lau, 2008. "Information and bargaining in the hold-up problem," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 266-282.
  14. Klein, Benjamin, 1988. "Vertical Integration as Organizational Ownership: The Fisher Body-General Motors Relationship Revisited," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 199-213, Spring.
  15. Joel S. Demski & David E.M. Sappington, 1991. "Resolving Double Moral Hazard Problems with Buyout Agreements," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(2), pages 232-240, Summer.
  16. Edlin, Aaron S & Hermalin, Benjamin E, 2000. "Contract Renegotiation and Options in Agency Problems," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 395-423, October.
  17. Donald B. Hausch & Yeon-Koo Che, 1999. "Cooperative Investments and the Value of Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 125-147, March.
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