Incomplete Contracting and Target-Cost Pricing
Target-cost pricing has been a widely applied formula in defence contracting. If this type of pricing arrangement is chosen, the seller's ex-post profit consists of a fixed payment plus some share of the cost overrun, that is the difference between an ex--ante agreed estimation of the production costs and the actual production costs. In an incomplete--contract setting, where relationship-- specific investments have to be made prior to the production stage, the cost-reimbursement properties of target-cost pricing work against a first best. However, since costs are verifiable, the ex-- ante contract allows to condition the initial contract on costs, that is, to stipulate a separate trade price for each cost observation, plus a special price for the no--trade case. (If costs are non--verifiable, it is only possible to fix one price for trade and one price for non--trade.) This increase in the number of instruments available to the agents works in favour of a first best. The paper shows that the positive properties of target-cost pricing outweigh the negative ones: it is possible to find prices which induce the agents to invest efficiently into relationship-specific investments, thus avoiding Williamson's hold-up problem. This result is particularly important because fixed-price contracts a la Hart-- Moore (1988) fail to achieve the first best if they are applied in the same environment in which target-cost prices succeed in attaining the first best. Since any contract, which implies full cost-reimbursement, also fails to achieve the first best, this paper shows that the first best requires just that middle-of-the-road approach which is offered by target-cost pricing.
|Date of creation:||Jun 1996|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany|
Fax: +49 228 73 6884
Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Georg Noldeke & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1995.
"Option Contracts and Renegotiation: A Solution to the Hold-Up Problem,"
RAND Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(2), pages 163-179, Summer.
- Nöldeke, Georg & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1995. "Option contracts and renegotiation: A solution to the Hold-Up Problem," Munich Reprints in Economics 19329, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Georg Nöldeke & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1992. "Option Contracts and Renegotiation - A Solution to the Hold-Up Problem," Discussion Paper Serie A 417, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Aug 1993.
- Ballard, Charles L & Shoven, John B & Whalley, John, 1985. "General Equilibrium Computations of the Marginal Welfare Costs of Taxes in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 128-38, March.
- Tai-Yeong Chung, 1991. "Incomplete Contracts, Specific Investments, and Risk Sharing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(5), pages 1031-1042.
- Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994.
"Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information,"
12375014, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 257-82, March.
- Mathias Dewatripont & Philippe Aghion & Patrick Rey, 1994. "Renegotiation design with unverifiable information," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9591, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Bos, Dieter & Lulfesmann, Christoph, 1996. " The Hold-Up Problem in Government Contracting," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 98(1), pages 53-74, March.
- Hartley, Keith, 1969. "Estimating Military Aircraft Production Outlays: The British Experience," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 79(316), pages 861-81, December.
- Dieter BÃ¶s, 1996. "Privatization and Restructuring; An Incomplete-Contract Approach," IMF Working Papers 96/101, International Monetary Fund.
- Sandler,Todd & Hartley,Keith, 1995. "The Economics of Defense," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521447287, june. pag.
- Hart, Oliver D & Moore, John, 1988.
"Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation,"
Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 755-85, July.
- Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1985. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," Working papers 367, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Hardman Moore, John & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," CEPR Discussion Papers 60, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- J. Michael Cummins, 1977. "Incentive Contracting for National Defense: A Problem of Optimal Risk Sharing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 8(1), pages 168-185, Spring.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bon:bonsfa:524. 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: (BGSE Office)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.