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Information and the Hold-Up Problem

  • Hermalin, Benjamin E.
  • Katz, Michael L

We examine situations in which a party must make a sunk investment prior to contracting with a second party to purchase an essential complementary input. We study how the resulting old-up problem is affected by the seller’s information about the investing party’s likely returns from its investment. Our principal focus is on the effects of the investment’s being observable by the non-investing party. We establish conditions under which the seller’s ability to observe the buyer’s investment harms the seller, benefits the buyer, and reduces equilibrium investment and total surplus. We also note conditions under which investment and welfare rise when investment is observable.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley in its series Department of Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt782315gb.

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Date of creation: 30 Mar 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt782315gb
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  1. Nöldeke, Georg & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "Sequential investments and options to own," Munich Reprints in Economics 19327, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. repec:att:wimass:9714 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Justus Haucap & Christian Wey, 2004. "Unionisation structures and innovation incentives," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages C149-C165, 03.
  4. Francine Lafontaine & Kathryn L. Shaw, 1999. "The Dynamics of Franchise Contracting: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(5), pages 1041-1080, October.
  5. Schmitz, Patrick W, 2001. "The Hold-up Problem and Incomplete Contracts: A Survey of Recent Topics in Contract Theory," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 1-17, January.
  6. Gul, Faruk, 2001. "Unobservable Investment and the Hold-Up Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 343-76, March.
  7. Farrell, Joseph & Gallini, Nancy T, 1988. "Second-Sourcing as a Commitment: Monopoly Incentives to Attract Competition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(4), pages 673-94, November.
  8. 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.
  9. Edlin, Aaron S & Hermalin, Benjamin E, 2000. "Contract Renegotiation and Options in Agency Problems," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 395-423, October.
  10. Rogerson, William P, 1992. "Contractual Solutions to the Hold-Up Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 777-93, October.
  11. Donald B. Hausch & Yeon-Koo Che, 1999. "Cooperative Investments and the Value of Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 125-147, March.
  12. Joel S. Demski & David E.M. Sappington, 1991. "Resolving Double Moral Hazard Problems with Buyout Agreements," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(2), pages 232-240, Summer.
  13. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Procurement and Renegotiation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 235-59, April.
  14. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2008. "Incomplete contracts, the hold-up problem, and asymmetric information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 119-122, April.
  15. Stephanie Lau, 2008. "Information and bargaining in the hold-up problem," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(1), pages 266-282.
  16. Klein, Benjamin, 1988. "Vertical Integration as Organizational Ownership: The Fisher Body-General Motors Relationship Revisited," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 199-213, Spring.
  17. DeGraba, Patrick, 1990. "Input Market Price Discrimination and the Choice of Technology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1246-53, December.
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