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

Listed author(s):
  • Buzard, Kristy
  • Watson, Joel

This paper examines a class of contractual relationships with specific investment, a non-durable trading opportunity, and renegotiation. Trade actions are modeled as individual and trade-action-based option contracts (“non-forcing contracts†) are explored. The paper identifies an important distinction, between divided and unified investment and trade actions, that plays a key role in determining whether efficient investment and trade can be achieved. By using non-forcing contracts, the party without the trade action can be made residual claimant with regard to the investment action, which implies that an efficient outcome can be achieved in the divided case but not typically in the unified case. More generally, the paper shows that, with ex post renegotiation, constraining parties to use “forcing contracts†implies a strict reduction in the set of implementable value functions. Tools are developed for calculating the “punishment values†that determine the sets of implementable post-investment value functions.

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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 qt3df3q4vg.

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Date of creation: 19 Jun 2010
Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt3df3q4vg
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  1. Matthew Ellman, 2006. "Specificity Revisited: The Role of Cross-Investments," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 234-257, April.
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  8. Watson, Joel, 2002. "Contract, Mechanism Design, and Technological Detail," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt18x0r2nn, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
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  14. 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.
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  16. Yeon-Koo Che & Jozsef Sakovics, 2001. "A Dynamic Theory of Holdup," ESE Discussion Papers 74, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  17. Andreas Roider, 2002. "Asset Ownership and Contractability of Interaction," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse12_2002, University of Bonn, Germany, revised May 2003.
  18. Evans, R., 2006. "Simple Efficient Contracts in Complex Environments," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0627, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  19. Guriev Sergei, 2003. "Incomplete Contracts with Cross-Investments," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-32, August.
  20. Alexander Stremitzer, 2009. "Standard Breach Remedies, Quality Thresholds, and Cooperative Investments," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse4_2009, University of Bonn, Germany.
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  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Sandeep Baliga & Tomas Sjöström, 2009. "Contracting with Third Parties," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 75-100, February.
  27. Grout, Paul A, 1984. "Investment and Wages in the Absence of Binding Contracts: A Nash Bargining Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 449-460, March.
  28. 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.
  29. Tai-Yeong Chung, 1991. "Incomplete Contracts, Specific Investments, and Risk Sharing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(5), pages 1031-1042.
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  31. William P. Rogerson, 1992. "Contractual Solutions to the Hold-Up Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(4), pages 777-793.
  32. Ilya Segal, 1999. "Complexity and Renegotiation: A Foundation for Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 57-82.
  33. Myerson, Roger B., 1982. "Optimal coordination mechanisms in generalized principal-agent problems," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 67-81, June.
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