IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Formal Contracts, Relational Contracts, and the Threat-Point Effect

  • Hideshi Itoh
  • Hodaka Morita

Can formal contracts help resolving the holdup problem? We address this important question by studying the holdup problem in repeated transactions between a seller and a buyer in which the seller can make relation-specific investments in each period. In contrast to previous findings, we demonstrate that writing a simple fixed-price contract based on product delivery is of value even when relation-specific investment is purely cooperative. In particular, there is a range of parameter values in which a higher investment can be implemented only if a formal fixed-price contract is written and combined with an informal agreement on additional payments or termination of future trade, contingent upon investments. Furthermore, we show that under an additional natural assumption, focusing our attention on fixed-price contracts as a form of formal contracts is without loss of generality. The key driving force of our result is a possibility that the threat-point effect is negative, i.e., the relation-specific investment decreases the surplus under no trade. This possibility, although very plausible, has been largely ignored in previous theoretical/empirical analyses of the holdup problem.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2011/wp-cesifo-2011-07/cesifo1_wp3533.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3533.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3533
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Poschingerstrasse 5, 81679 Munich

Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Web page: http://www.cesifo-group.de
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Watson, Joel & Wignall, Chris, 2009. "Hold-Up and Durable Trading Opportunities," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt8p8284wg, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  2. Swapnendu Banerjee & Sanjay Basu, 2007. "Rent a Womb: Surrogate Selection, Investment Incentives and Contracting," Working Papers id:1021, eSocialSciences.
  3. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
  4. Pearce, David G. & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1998. "The Interaction of Implicit and Explicit Contracts in Repeated Agency," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 75-96, April.
  5. Jeffrey H. Dyer, 1996. "Does Governance Matter? Keiretsu Alliances and Asset Specificity as Sources of Japanese Competitive Advantage," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 7(6), pages 649-666, December.
  6. F. Gul, 2000. "Unobservable Investment and the Hold-Up Problem," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 00s10, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  7. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, . "Power in a Theory of the Firm," CRSP working papers 335, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  8. Urs Schweizer, 2006. "Cooperative investments induced by contract law," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 134-145, 03.
  9. Che, Y.K. & Hausch, D.B., 1997. "Cooperative Investments and the Value of Contracting," Working papers 9714, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  10. Shelanski, Howard A & Klein, Peter G, 1995. "Empirical Research in Transaction Cost Economics: A Review and Assessment," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 335-61, October.
  11. Jonathan Levin, 2000. "Relational Incentive Contracts," Working Papers 01002, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. Schmidt, Klaus M. & Schnitzer, Monika, 1995. "The interaction of explicit and implicit contracts," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 193-199, May.
  14. Nöldeke, Georg & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1998. "Sequential investments and options to own," Munich Reprints in Economics 19327, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  15. Arturs Kalnins, 2004. "Relationships and Hybrid Contracts: An Analysis of Contract Choice in Information Technology," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 207-229, April.
  16. Michael D. Ryall & Rachelle C. Sampson, 2009. "Formal Contracts in the Presence of Relational Enforcement Mechanisms: Evidence from Technology Development Projects," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(6), pages 906-925, June.
  17. Coase, R H, 1988. "The Nature of the Firm: Influence," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 33-47, Spring.
  18. Che, Y.K. & Chung, Y.T., 1996. "Contract Damages and Cooperative Investments," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9612, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  19. Aaron S. Edlin & Stefan Reichelstein, 1995. "Holdups, Standard Breach Remedies, and Optimal Investment," NBER Working Papers 5007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Ola Kvaløy & Trond E. Olsen, 2009. "Endogenous Verifiability and Relational Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2193-2208, December.
  21. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1997. "Incomplete Contracts and Strategic Ambiguity," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1787, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  22. Keith J. Crocker & Kenneth J. Reynolds, 1993. "The Efficiency of Incomplete Contracts: An Empirical Analysis of Air Force Engine Procurement," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(1), pages 126-146, Spring.
  23. 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.
  24. Maija Halonen, 2002. "Reputation And The Allocation Of Ownership," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(481), pages 539-558, July.
  25. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  26. Pitchford, Rohan & Snyder, Christopher M., 2004. "A solution to the hold-up problem involving gradual investment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 88-103, January.
  27. Evans, R., 2006. "Simple Efficient Contracts in Complex Environments," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0627, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  28. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1989. "Implicit Contracts, Incentive Compatibility, and Involuntary Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 447-80, March.
  29. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1993. "Investments, Holdup, and the Form of Market Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 811-37, September.
  30. Alexander Stremitzer, 2012. "Standard Breach Remedies, Quality Thresholds, and Cooperative Investments," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(2), pages 337-359.
  31. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2000. "Reputation Effects and the Limits of Contracting: A Study of the Indian Software Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 989-1017.
  32. Yeon-Koo Che & József Sákovics, 2004. "A Dynamic Theory of Holdup," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(4), pages 1063-1103, 07.
  33. Bengt Holmstrom & John Roberts, 1998. "The Boundaries of the Firm Revisited," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 73-94, Fall.
  34. Kenneth S. Corts, 2004. "The Effect of Repeated Interaction on Contract Choice: Evidence from Offshore Drilling," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 230-260, April.
  35. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817, December.
  36. Morita, Hodaka, 2001. "Partial Ownership Induces Customised Investments under Repeated Interaction: An Explanation of Japanese Manufacturer-Suppliers Relationships," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 48(3), pages 345-59, August.
  37. Ilya Segal & Michael D. Whinston, 2000. "Exclusive Contracts and Protection of Investments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(4), pages 603-633, Winter.
  38. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:1:p:134-145 is not listed on IDEAS
  39. 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.
  40. Asanuma, Banri, 1989. "Manufacturer-supplier relationships in Japan and the concept of relation-specific skill," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 1-30, March.
  41. Andrabi, Tahir & Ghatak, Maitreesh & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz, 2006. "Subcontractors for tractors: Theory and evidence on flexible specialization, supplier selection, and contracting," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 273-302, April.
  42. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1994. "Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1125-1156.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3533. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Klaus Wohlrabe)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.