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Hold-up and Sequential Specific Investments

  • Vladimir Smirnov

    ()

    (University of Sydney)

  • Andrew Wait

    ()

    (University of Sydney)

We explore the hold-up problem when parties can make investments simultaneously or sequentially. Sequencing of investments can allow some projects to proceed that would not be feasible with a simultaneous regime. However, a cost of sequencing is that it can disadvantage some parties, reducing their incentive to invest. The mere possibility of sequential investment can prevent trade from occurring; this can be interpreted as a new form of hold-up. If both parties prefer to invest second, as the number of potential investment periods is increased, the subgame-perfect equilibrium can switch between a prisoners' dilemma and a coordination game.

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Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 35 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (Summer)
Pages: 386-400

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Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:35:y:2004:2:p:386-400
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  1. Smirnov, V. & Wait, A., 2001. "Timing of Investments, Hold-up and Total Welfare," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 808, The University of Melbourne.
  2. 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.
  3. Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1999. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 115-38, January.
  5. Neher, Darwin V, 1999. "Staged Financing: An Agency Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 255-74, April.
  6. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1993. "Investments, Holdup, and the Form of Market Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 811-37, September.
  7. Admati, Anat R & Perry, Motty, 1991. "Joint Projects without Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 259-76, April.
  8. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817, March.
  9. Hardman Moore, John & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," CEPR Discussion Papers 60, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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