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Transaction Costs and the Robustness of the Coase Theorem

  • Luca Anderlini
  • Leonardo Felli

This paper explores the extent to which the presence of ex-ante transaction costs may lead to failures of the Coase Theorem. In particular we identify and investigate the basic 'hold-up problem' which arises whenever the parties to a Coasian negotiation have to pay some ex-ante costs for the negotiation to take place. We then show that a 'Coasian solution' to this hold-up problem is not available. This is because a Coasian solution to the hold-up problem typically entails a negotation about the payment of the costs associated with the future negotiation which in turn is associated with a fresh set of ex-ante costs, and hence with a new hold-up problem.

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Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series with number 409.

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Date of creation: Feb 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cep:stitep:409
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  1. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, . ""Costly Coasian Contracts''," CARESS Working Papres 97-11, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  2. Muthoo,Abhinay, 1999. "Bargaining Theory with Applications," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521576475, October.
  3. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Scholarly Articles 12375014, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Ariel Rubinstein & Asher Wolinsky, 1989. "Renegotiation-Proof Implementation and Time Preferences," Discussion Papers 850, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 95-8, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1985. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," Working papers 367, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Farrell, Joseph & Maskin, Eric, 1989. "Renegotiation in repeated games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 327-360, December.
  10. Jong-Il Kim & Lawrence J. Lau, 1996. "The sources of Asian Pacific economic growth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(s1), pages 448-54, April.
  11. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1997. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 6274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Dixit, Avinash & Olson, Mancur, 2000. "Does voluntary participation undermine the Coase Theorem?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 309-335, June.
  13. 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.
  14. Abrea Dilip & Pearce David & Stacchetti Ennio, 1993. "Renegotiation and Symmetry in Repeated Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 217-240, August.
  15. Benoit, Jean-Pierre & Krishna, Vijay, 1993. "Renegotiation in Finitely Repeated Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(2), pages 303-23, March.
  16. Dilip Abreu & David Pearce & Ennio Stacchetti, 1989. "Renegotiation and Symmetry in Repeated Games," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 198, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
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