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Incomplete Contracting, Renegotiation, and Expectation-Based Loss Aversion

  • Fabian Herweg
  • Heiko Karle
  • Daniel Müller

We consider a simple trading relationship between an expectation-based loss-averse buyer and profit-maximizing sellers. When writing a long-term contract the parties have to rely on renegotiations in order to ensure materially efficient trade ex post. The type of the concluded long-term contract affects the buyer’s expectations regarding the outcome of renegotiation. If the buyer expects renegotiation always to take place, the parties are always able to implement the materially efficient good ex post. It can be optimal for the buyer, however, to expect that renegotiation does not take place. In this case, a good of too high quality or too low quality is traded ex post. Based on the buyer’s expectation management, our theory provides a rationale for “employment contracts” in the absence of non-contractible investments. Moreover, in an extension with non-contractible investments, we show that loss aversion can reduce the hold-up problem.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4687.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4687
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  1. Herweg, Fabian, 2013. "The expectation-based loss-averse newsvendor," Munich Reprints in Economics 19411, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Eric Maskin, 1999. "Nash Equilibrium and Welfare Optimality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 23-38.
  3. Rosato, Antonio, 2013. "Selling Substitute Goods to Loss-Averse Consumers: Limited Availability, Bargains and Rip-offs," MPRA Paper 47168, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Heiko Karle, 2013. "Creating Attachment through Advertising: Loss Aversion and Pre–Purchase Information," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 13/177, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
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  9. Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. Karle, Heiko & Kirchsteiger, Georg & Peitz, Martin, 2012. "Loss Aversion and Consumption Choice: Theory and Experimental Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 9183, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. John List, 2003. "Does market experience eliminate market anomalies?," Natural Field Experiments 00297, The Field Experiments Website.
  13. 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.
  14. Hoppe, Eva I & Schmitz, Patrick W, 2009. "Can Contracts Solve the Hold-Up Problem? Experimental Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 7205, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Maija Halonen-Akatwijuka & Oliver D. Hart, 2013. "More is Less: Why Parties May Deliberately Write Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 19001, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. J. Luis Guasch, 2004. "Granting and Renegotiating Infrastructure Concessions : Doing it Right," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15024, August.
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