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Simple Efficient Contracts in Complex Environments

This paper studies a general model of holdup in a setting encompassing the models of Segal (1999) and Che and Hausch (1999) among others. It is shown that if renegotiation is modeled as an infinite-horizon noncooperative bargaining game, then, with a simple initial contract, an efficient equilibrium will generally exist. The contract is robust in the sense that it does not depend on fine details of the model. The contract gives authority to one party to set the terms of trade and gives the other party a nonexpiring option to trade at these terms. The difference from standard results arises because the initial contract ensures that the renegotiation game has multiple equilibria; the multiplicity of continuation equilibria can be used to enforce efficient investment. Copyright Copyright 2008 by The Econometric Society.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1468-0262.2008.00844.x
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Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Econometrica.

Volume (Year): 76 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (05)
Pages: 459-491

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Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:76:y:2008:i:3:p:459-491
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  1. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-61, October.
  2. Mathias Dewatripont & Philippe Aghion & Patrick Rey, 1994. "Renegotiation design with unverifiable information," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9591, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Edlin, Aaron S & Reichelstein, Stefan, 1996. "Holdups, Standard Breach Remedies, and Optimal Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 478-501, June.
  4. Jonathan Levin, 2000. "Relational Incentive Contracts," Working Papers 01002, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
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  6. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114, January.
  7. 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.
  8. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
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  10. 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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  12. Eric Maskin & John Moore, 1999. "Implementation and Renegotiation," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1863, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  13. Hart, Oliver D & Moore, John, 1988. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 755-85, July.
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  15. Georg Noldeke & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1995. "Option Contracts and Renegotiation: A Solution to the Hold-Up Problem," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(2), pages 163-179, Summer.
  16. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1992. "An Incomplete Contracts Approach to Financial Contracting," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 473-94, July.
  17. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 2002. "On partial contracting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 745-753, May.
  18. Joel Watson, 2007. "Contract, Mechanism Design, and Technological Detail," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 55-81, 01.
  19. Lorne Carmichael & W. Bentley MacLeod, 2003. "Caring About Sunk Costs: A Behavioral Solution to Holdup Problems with Small Stakes," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 106-118, April.
  20. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1989. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 447-80, March.
  21. Chung, Tai-Yeong, 1991. "Incomplete Contracts, Specific Investments, and Risk Sharing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(5), pages 1031-42, October.
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