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Sunk investments lead to unpredictable prices

  • Mailath,G.J.
  • Postlewait,A.
  • Samuelson,L.

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Social Systems Research Institute)

We study transactions that require investments before trading in a competitive market, when forward contracts fixing the transaction price are absent. We show that, despite the market being perfectly competitive and subject to arbitrarily little uncertainty, the inability to jointly determine investment levels and prices may make it impossible for buyers and sellers to predict the prices at which they will trade, leading to inefficient levels of investment and trade.

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Paper provided by Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems in its series Working papers with number 11.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:att:wimass:200311
Contact details of provider: Postal: UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MADISON, SOCIAL SYSTEMS RESEARCH INSTITUTE(S.S.R.I.), MADISON WISCONSIN 53706 U.S.A.

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  1. Robert J. Shiller & Allan N. Weiss, 1994. "Home Equity Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Cole, Harold L. & Mailath, George J. & Postlewaite, Andrew, 2001. "Efficient Non-Contractible Investments in Large Economies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 333-373, December.
  3. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Manuelli, Rodolfo & Peck, James, 1992. "Sunspot-like effects of random endowments," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 193-206, April.
  5. Paul Milgrom & Ilya Segal, 2002. "Envelope Theorems for Arbitrary Choice Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 583-601, March.
  6. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 2003. "Financial Fragility, Liquidity and Asset Prices," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 01-37, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
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