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Unobservable Investment and the Hold-Up Problem

  • Gul, Faruk

We study a two-person bargaining problem in which the buyer may invest and increase his valuation of the object before bargaining. We show that if all offers are made by the seller and the time between offers is small, then the buyer invests efficiently and the seller extracts all of the surplus. Hence, bargaining with frequently repeated offers remedies the hold-up problem even when the agent who makes the relation-specific investment has no bargaining power and contracting is not possible. We consider alternative formulations with uncertain gains from trade or two-sided investment.

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Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Econometrica.

Volume (Year): 69 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 343-76

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Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:69:y:2001:i:2:p:343-76
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  1. Hermalin, Benjamin E & Katz, Michael L, 1991. "Moral Hazard and Verifiability: The Effects of Renegotiation in Agency," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1735-53, November.
  2. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
  3. Rogerson, William P, 1992. "Contractual Solutions to the Hold-Up Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 777-93, October.
  4. Ma, Ching-To Albert, 1994. "Renegotiation and Optimality in Agency Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(1), pages 109-29, January.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 257-82, March.
  6. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1988. "Moral Hazard and Renegotiation in Agency Contracts," Working papers 494, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Ma, Ching-to Albert, 1991. "Adverse Selection in Dynamic Moral Hazard," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 255-75, February.
  8. Steven A. Matthews, 1993. "Renegotiation of Sales Contracts," Discussion Papers 1051, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  9. Larry M. Ausubel & Raymond J. Deneckere, 1989. "Reputation in Bargaining and Durable Goods Monopoly," Levine's Working Paper Archive 201, David K. Levine.
  10. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1993. "Investments, Holdup, and the Form of Market Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 811-37, September.
  11. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine & Jean Tirole, 1985. "Infinite-Horizon Models of Bargaining with One-Sided Incomplete Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1098, David K. Levine.
  12. Faruk Gul & Hugo Sonnenschein & Robert Wilson, 2010. "Foundations of Dynamic Monopoly and the Coase Conjecture," Levine's Working Paper Archive 232, David K. Levine.
  13. Che, Y.K. & Chung, T.Y., 1995. "Incomplete Contracts and Cooperative Investments," Working papers 9524, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  14. Ausubel, Lawrence M & Deneckere, Raymond J, 1989. "Reputation in Bargaining and Durable Goods Monopoly," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 511-31, May.
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