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Transaction Costs and the Robustness of the Coase Theorem

  • Luca Anderlini
  • Leonardo Felli

This paper explores the extent to which "ex ante" transaction costs may lead to failures of the Coase Theorem. In particular we identify the basic 'hold-up problem' that arises whenever the parties to a Coasian negotiation have to pay "ex ante costs" for the negotiation to take place. We then show that a 'Coasian solution' to this problem is not available: a Coasian solution typically entails a negotiation about the payment of the costs associated with the future negotiation, which in turn is associated with a fresh set of "ex ante" costs, and hence a new hold-up problem. Copyright 2006 Royal Economic Society.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 116 (2006)
Issue (Month): 508 (01)
Pages: 223-245

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:116:y:2006:i:508:p:223-245
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  1. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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  6. Benoit, Jean-Pierre & Krishna, Vijay, 1991. "Renegotiation in Finitely Repeated Games," Working Papers 91-34, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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  9. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
  10. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, . "Costly Coasian Contracts," Penn CARESS Working Papers c5b2efc4326ca8bb8162440d6, Penn Economics Department.
  11. Mathias Dewatripont & Philippe Aghion & Patrick Rey, 1994. "Renegotiation design with unverifiable information," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9591, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  12. Abrea Dilip & Pearce David & Stacchetti Ennio, 1993. "Renegotiation and Symmetry in Repeated Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 217-240, August.
  13. Dilip Abreu & David Pearce & Ennio Stacchetti, 1989. "Renegotiation and Symmetry in Repeated Games," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 198, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
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  15. Jong-Il Kim & Lawrence J. Lau, 1996. "The sources of Asian Pacific economic growth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(s1), pages 448-54, April.
  16. Dixit, Avinash & Olson, Mancur, 2000. "Does voluntary participation undermine the Coase Theorem?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 309-335, June.
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