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Noncontractible Investments and Reference Points

  • Oliver Hart

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Harvard University, Littauer 220, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA)

We analyze noncontractible investments in a model with shading. A seller can make an investment that affects a buyer’s value. The parties have outside options that depend on asset ownership. When shading is not possible and there is no contract renegotiation, an optimum can be achieved by giving the seller the right to make a take-it-or-leave-it offer. However, with shading, such a contract creates deadweight losses. We show that an optimal contract will limit the seller’s offers, and possibly create ex post inefficiency. Asset ownership can improve matters even if revelation mechanisms are allowed.

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Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Games.

Volume (Year): 4 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 437-456

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Handle: RePEc:gam:jgames:v:4:y:2013:i:3:p:437-456:d:27990
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  1. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114, January.
  2. Philippe Aghion & Drew Fudenberg & Richard Holden & Takashi Kunimoto & Olivier Tercieux, 2012. "Subgame-Perfect Implementation Under Information Perturbations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(4), pages 1843-1881.
  3. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2006. "Contracts as Reference Points," NBER Working Papers 12706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lafontaine, Francine & Slade, Margaret, 2007. "Vertical Integration and Firm Boundaries : The Evidence," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 799, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  5. Oliver Hart & Bengt Holmstrom, 2008. "A Theory of Firm Scope," NBER Working Papers 14613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817, March.
  8. Ernst Fehr & Oliver Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2011. "Contracts as Reference Points--Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 493-525, April.
  9. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. Woodruff, Christopher, 2002. "Non-contractible investments and vertical integration in the Mexican footwear industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(8), pages 1197-1224, October.
  12. Fabian Herweg & Klaus Schmidt, 2012. "Loss Aversion and Ex Post Inefficient Renegotiation," CESifo Working Paper Series 4031, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Maija Halonen-Akatwijuka & Oliver D. Hart, 2013. "More is Less: Why Parties May Deliberately Write Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 19001, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Oliver Hart, 2009. "Hold-Up, Asset Ownership, and Reference Points-super-," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(1), pages 267-300, February.
  15. Philippe Aghion & Richard Holden, 2011. "Incomplete Contracts and the Theory of the Firm: What Have We Learned over the Past 25 Years?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 181-97, Spring.
  16. George P. Baker & Thomas N. Hubbard, 2004. "Contractibility and Asset Ownership: On-board Computers and Governance in U. S. Trucking," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1443-1479, November.
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