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Contract, Renegotiation, and Hold Up: General Results on the Technology of Trade and Investment

  • Watson, Joel
  • Buzard, Kristy

This paper examines a class of contractual relationships with specific investment, a non-durable trading opportunity, and renegotiation. FurtheringWatson’s (2007) line of analysis, trade actions are modeled as individual and trade-action-based option contracts are explored. Simple tools are developed for calculating the “punishment values†that determine the sets of implementable post-investment value functions, and two results are proved. The first result establishes that, with ex post renegotiation, constraining parties to use “forcing contracts†(as is implicit in public-action models) implies a strict reduction in the set of implementable value functions. The second result shows that, by using non-forcing contracts, the party without the trade action can be made residual claimant with regard to the investment action. The paper identifies an important distinction, between divided and unified investment and trade actions, that plays an important role in determining whether an efficient outcome is achieved.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC San Diego in its series University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt3923q7kz.

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Date of creation: 03 Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt3923q7kz
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  1. Segal, Ilya, 1999. "Complexity and Renegotiation: A Foundation for Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 57-82, January.
  2. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1999. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 115-38, January.
  3. repec:fiu:wpaper:0909 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. 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.
  5. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1985. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," Working papers 367, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Nöldeke, Georg & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1997. "Sequential Investments and Options to Own," CEPR Discussion Papers 1645, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Scholarly Articles 12375014, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Sönje Reiche, 2006. "Ambivalent Investment and the Hold-Up Problem," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(6), pages 1148-1164, December.
  9. Grout, Paul A, 1984. "Investment and Wages in the Absence of Binding Contracts: A Nash Bargining Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 449-60, March.
  10. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
  11. Evans, R., 2006. "Simple Efficient Contracts in Complex Environments," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0627, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  12. 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.
  13. Myerson, Roger B., 1982. "Optimal coordination mechanisms in generalized principal-agent problems," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 67-81, June.
  14. Rogerson, William P, 1992. "Contractual Solutions to the Hold-Up Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 777-93, October.
  15. Thomas P. Lyon, 2004. "Buyer-Option Contracts Restored: Renegotiation, Inefficient Threats, and the Hold-Up Problem," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 148-169, April.
  16. Sandeep Baliga & Tomas Sjostrom, 2005. "Contracting with Third Parties," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000408, UCLA Department of Economics.
  17. Beaudry, P. & Poitevin, M., 1993. "Contract Renegotiation: A Simple Framework and Implications for Organization Theory," Cahiers de recherche 9332, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  18. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli & Andrew Postlewaite, 2001. "Courts of Law and Unforeseen Contingencies," PIER Working Paper Archive 06-001, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Jan 2006.
  19. Matthew Ellman, 2004. "Specificity Revisited: The Role of Cross-Investments," Working Papers 150, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  20. Sabine Böckem & Ulf Schiller, 2008. "Option Contracts in Supply Chains," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 219-245, 03.
  21. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-61, October.
  22. Guriev Sergei, 2003. "Incomplete Contracts with Cross-Investments," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-32, August.
  23. Chung, Tai-Yeong, 1991. "Incomplete Contracts, Specific Investments, and Risk Sharing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(5), pages 1031-42, October.
  24. Yeon-Koo Che & Jozsef Sakovics, 2001. "A Dynamic Theory of Holdup," ESE Discussion Papers 74, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  25. Andreas Roider, 2004. "Asset Ownership and Contractibility of Interaction," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(4), pages 787-802, Winter.
  26. Evans, R., 2006. "Mechanism Design with Renegotiation and Costly Messages," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0626, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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