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Contract Renegotiation and Coasian Dynamics


  • Oliver D. Hart
  • Jean Tirole


Consider a long-term relationship between a seller and a buyer whose valuation (for a per-period service or a durable good) is private. As trade progresses, the valuation will be partially revealed, and it may be impossible for the parties to commit ex-ante not to take advantage of this. We analyse this situation first by supposing that the parties can sign a sequence of short-term contracts; and secondly by supposing that they can sign a long-term contract, but cannot commit not to renegotiate it later. We find a close relationship in the second case between the optimal long-term contract and the non-commitment outcome in the standard Coasian durable good model. Our results also have implications for hidden-information principal-agent models.

Suggested Citation

  • Oliver D. Hart & Jean Tirole, 1988. "Contract Renegotiation and Coasian Dynamics," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 55(4), pages 509-540.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:55:y:1988:i:4:p:509-540.

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