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Does Evolution Solve the Hold-Up Problem?

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  • Ellingsen, Tore
  • Robles, Jack

Abstract

We examine the theoretical foundations of the hold-up problem. At a first stage, one agent decides on the level of a relationship specific invesment. There is no contract, so at a second stage the agent must bargain with a trading partner over the surplus generated by the investment. We show that the conventional underinvestment result hinges crucially both on the assumed bargaining game and on hte choice of equilibrium concept. In particular, we prove the following two results. (i) If bargaining proceeds according to the Nash demand game, any investment level is subgame perfect, but only efficient oucomes are evolutionarily stable. (ii) If bargaining proceeds according to the ultimatum game (with the trading partner as proposer,) only the minimal investment level is subgame perfect, but any investment level is evolutionarily stable.
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  • Ellingsen, Tore & Robles, Jack, 2002. "Does Evolution Solve the Hold-Up Problem?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 28-53, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:39:y:2002:i:1:p:28-53
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    Cited by:

    1. Calabuig, Vicente & Olcina, Gonzalo, 2009. "Cooperation and cultural transmission in a coordination game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 188-201, October.
    2. Kurtis Swope & Pamela Schmitt & John Cadigan & Ryan Wielgus, 2010. "Contracts, Behavior, and the Land-Assembly Problem:An Experimental Study," Departmental Working Papers 29, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
    3. Birendra K. Rai, 2006. "Evolution of Division Rules," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-27, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    4. Troger, Thomas, 2002. "Double Auctions, Ex-Post Participation Constraints, and the Hold-Up Problem," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt5qv060md, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    5. Sebastian Kranz, 2013. "Relational Contracting, Repeated Negotiations, and Hold-Up," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000676, David K. Levine.
    6. Robles, Jack, 2001. "Evolution in Finitely Repeated Coordination Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 312-330, February.
    7. L. Bagnoli & G. Negroni, 2012. "On the coevolution of social norms in primitive societies," Working Papers wp858, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    8. Dawid, Herbert & MacLeod, W. Bentley, 2008. "Hold-up and the evolution of investment and bargaining norms," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 26-52, January.
    9. Herbert Dawid & Joern Dermietzel, 2006. "How Robust is the Equal Split Norm? Responsive Strategies, Selection Mechanisms and the Need for Economic Interpretation of Simulation Parameters," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 28(4), pages 371-397, November.
    10. Christian Ewerhart, 2006. "The Effect of Sunk Costs on the Outcome of Alternating-Offers Bargaining Between Inequity-Averse Agents," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 58(2), pages 184-203, April.
    11. Andreozzi, Luciano, 2010. "An evolutionary theory of social justice: Choosing the right game," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 320-329, September.
    12. Deltas, George, 2006. "Overinvestment in partially relationship-specific assets and R&D," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 466-475, July.
    13. Olcina, Gonzalo & Penarrubia, Concepcion, 2004. "Hold up and intergenerational transmission of preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 111-132, May.
    14. Troger, Thomas, 2002. "Double Auctions, Ex-Post Participation Constraints, and the Hold-Up Problem," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt3f2509gz, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    15. Siemens, Ferdinand von, 2005. "Bargaining under Incomplete Information, Fairness, and the Hold-Up Problem," Discussion Papers in Economics 518, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    16. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Is There a Hold-up Problem?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 475-494, October.
    17. Pitchford, Rohan & Snyder, Christopher M., 2004. "A solution to the hold-up problem involving gradual investment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 88-103, January.
    18. Kevin Hasker, 2014. "The Emergent Seed: A Representation Theorem for Models of Stochastic Evolution and two formulas for Waiting Time," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000954, David K. Levine.
    19. Andreozzi, Luciano, 2012. "Property rights and investments: An evolutionary approach," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 1-11.
    20. Siemens, Ferdinand von, 2005. "Bargaining under Incomplete Information, Fairness, and the Hold-Up Problem," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 57, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    21. Fabrizio Panebianco, 2016. "The role of persuasion in cultural evolution dynamics," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 63(3), pages 233-258, September.
    22. repec:spr:jeicoo:v:12:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11403-016-0180-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Bahry, Donna L. & Wilson, Rick K., 2006. "Confusion or fairness in the field? Rejections in the ultimatum game under the strategy method," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 37-54, May.
    24. L. Bagnoli & G. Negroni, 2013. "Egalitarianism. An evolutionary perspective," Working Papers wp888, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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