IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/jleorg/v29y2013i5p1023-1055.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Hold Up Under Costly Litigation and Imperfect Courts of Law

Author

Listed:
  • Manuel Willington

Abstract

Most of the incomplete contracting literature assumes courts of law perfectly distinguish verifiable from nonverifiable variables and that only claims related to the former can be brought to courts. We consider a more realistic enforcement technology: Parties are able to sign "vague contracts" and, by spending resources on litigation, get the court to hear and rule on cases even if they have bogus grounds and-or the claim is related to nonverifiable variables. We reexamine the results obtained in the literature on contractual solutions to the hold-up problem. In contrast to Che and Hausch (1999 "Cooperative Investment and the Value of Contracting," 89 American Economic Review 125--47.) , we find that a simple contract can be valuable and even the first-best might be achievable in the cooperative investment case. For the case of selfish investment, the efficient result of Edlin and Reichelstein (1996 "Holdups, Standard Breach Remedies, and Optimal Investment," 86 American Economic Review, 478--501.) does not hold in general if attention is restricted to simple contracts. Our model predicts that, if allowed to do so, the parties will--by choosing the appropriate contract--manipulate the litigation costs and court rulings in opposite directions, depending on the nature of investment. (JEL: D20, D78, K10, K40, L22) The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuel Willington, 2013. "Hold Up Under Costly Litigation and Imperfect Courts of Law," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(5), pages 1023-1055, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:29:y:2013:i:5:p:1023-1055
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jleo/ews018
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hart, Oliver D & Moore, John, 1988. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 755-785, July.
    2. Andrew Postlewaite, 2007. "Courts of Law and Unforeseen Contingencies," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 662-684, October.
    3. William P. Rogerson, 1992. "Contractual Solutions to the Hold-Up Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(4), pages 777-793.
    4. 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.
    5. Froeb, Luke M. & Kobayashi, Bruce H., 2001. "Evidence production in adversarial vs. inquisitorial regimes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 267-272, February.
    6. M. Dewatripont & E. Maskin, 1995. "Contractual Contingencies and Renegotiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 704-719, Winter.
    7. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 257-282, March.
    8. Bernardo, Antonio E & Talley, Eric & Welch, Ivo, 2000. "A Theory of Legal Presumptions," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-49, April.
    9. Edlin, Aaron S, 1996. "Cadillac Contracts and Up-Front Payments: Efficient Investment under Expectation Damages," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 98-118, April.
    10. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114.
    11. Bull Jesse, 2008. "Costly Evidence Production and the Limits of Verifiability," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-28, July.
    12. Macleod, W.B. & Malcomson, J.M., 1991. "Investments, Hold Up and the Reform of Market Contracts," Cahiers de recherche 9114, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
    13. Shingo Ishiguro, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts and Breach Remedies," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, T├╝bingen, vol. 155(2), pages 342-342, June.
    14. Jesse Bull, 2009. "Costly Evidence And Systems Of Fact-Finding," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 103-125, April.
    15. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
    16. Ishiguro, Shingo, 2002. "Endogenous Verifiability and Optimality in Agency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 518-530, August.
    17. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
    18. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Procurement and Renegotiation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 235-259, April.
    19. Daughety, Andrew F & Reinganum, Jennifer F, 2000. "On the Economics of Trials: Adversarial Process, Evidence, and Equilibrium Bias," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 365-394, October.
    20. Bull, Jesse & Watson, Joel, 2004. "Evidence disclosure and verifiability," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 1-31, September.
    21. Alan Schwartz, 2004. "The Law and Economics of Costly Contracting," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 2-31, April.
    22. Alan Schwartz & Robert Scott, "undated". "Contract Theory and the Limits of Contract Law," Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy Working Paper Series yale_lepp-1011, Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy.
    23. Schwartz, Alan, 1992. "Relational Contracts in the Courts: An Analysis of Incomplete Agreements and Judicial Strategies," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 271-318, June.
    24. Cooter, Robert D & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1989. "Economic Analysis of Legal Disputes and Their Resolution," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 1067-1097, September.
    25. Daniel L. Rubinfeld & David E.M. Sappington, 1987. "Efficient Awards and Standards of Proof in Judicial Proceedings," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 308-315, Summer.
    26. De Fraja, Gianni, 1999. "After You Sir. Hold-Up, Direct Externalities, and Sequential Investment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 22-39, January.
    27. Alan Schwartz & Joel Watson, "undated". "The Law and Economics of Costly Contracting," Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy Working Paper Series yale_lepp-1004, Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy.
    28. 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.
    29. Coase, R H, 2000. "The Acquisition of Fisher Body by General Motors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 15-31, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D20 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - General
    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General
    • K12 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Contract Law
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:29:y:2013:i:5:p:1023-1055. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: https://academic.oup.com/jleo .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.