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Hold-Up and Durable Trading Opportunities

  • Watson, Joel
  • Wignall, Chris

This paper examines a contractual settingwith unverifiable investment and a durable trading opportunity, in which trade can take place in any one of an infinite number of periods. The contractual setting features cross-investment, meaning that the seller’s investment affects the buyer’s benefit of trade. The analysis shows that durability of the trading opportunity does not complicate the hold-up problem; more precisely, the set of outcomes supported in the durability setting is equivalent to the set supported in the related setting without durability. Thus, the technology of investment and trade— in particular, whether investment and trade actions are divided or unified (Buzard and Watson 2009)— plays an important role in determining whether the seller can be induced to invest at the efficient level. The issue of multiple equilibrium is analyzed and it is shown that particular non-stationary contracts can achieve unique implementation. The modeling exercise thus qualifies the recent view that durability may contribute to the hold-up problem

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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 qt8p8284wg.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt8p8284wg
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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.
  2. Sabine Böckem & Ulf Schiller, 2008. "Option Contracts in Supply Chains," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 219-245, 03.
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  5. 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.
  6. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 257-82, March.
  7. Chung, Tai-Yeong, 1991. "Incomplete Contracts, Specific Investments, and Risk Sharing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(5), pages 1031-42, October.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
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  11. Che,Y.-K. & Sakovics,J., 2001. "A dynamic theory of holdup," Working papers 25, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  12. Segal, Ilya, 1999. "Complexity and Renegotiation: A Foundation for Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 57-82, January.
  13. 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.
  14. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1999. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 115-38, January.
  15. 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.
  16. Hart, Oliver D & Moore, John, 1988. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 755-85, July.
  17. Sergei Guriev, 2003. "Incomplete Contracts with Cross-Investments," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/67o636bvfi8, Sciences Po.
  18. 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.
  19. Robert Evans, 2008. "Simple Efficient Contracts in Complex Environments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(3), pages 459-491, 05.
  20. Jesse Bull, 2012. "Third-Party Budget Breakers and Side Contracting in Team Production," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(3), pages 2606-2614.
  21. Rogerson, William P, 1992. "Contractual Solutions to the Hold-Up Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 777-93, October.
  22. 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.
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