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Hold-Up, Asset Ownership, and Reference Points-super-

  • Oliver Hart

    (Harvard University)

We study two parties who desire a smooth trading relationship under conditions of value and cost uncertainty. A contract fixing price works well in normal times because there is nothing to argue about. However, when value or cost is unusually high or low, one party will deviate from the contract and hold up the other party, causing deadweight losses as parties withhold cooperation. We show that allocating asset ownership and indexing contracts can reduce the incentives to engage in hold-up. In contrast to much of the literature, the driving force in our model is payoff uncertainty, rather than noncontractible investments. (c) 2009 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..

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File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1162/qjec.2009.124.1.267
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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 124 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 267-300

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:1:p:267-300
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