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Joint Ownership and Incomplete Contracts: The Case of Perfectly Substitutable Investments


  • Rosenkranz, Stephanie
  • Schmitz, Patrick W


Prominent results of the property rights approach based on incomplete contracts as outlined by Hart (1995) say that all ownership structures lead to underinvestment and that joint ownership cannot be optimal, provided that investments are strategic complements and affect human capital only. We show that in the case of perfectly substitutable investments these conclusions are still true in the static setting, even if investments are in physical capital. However, if the parties can invest and generate a surplus twice, then joint ownership may imply first-best investments in the first stage and can well be the optimal ownership structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Rosenkranz, Stephanie & Schmitz, Patrick W, 2001. "Joint Ownership and Incomplete Contracts: The Case of Perfectly Substitutable Investments," CEPR Discussion Papers 2679, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2679

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:jecsur:v:31:y:2017:i:1:p:281-302 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Rosenkranz, Stephanie & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2003. "Optimal allocation of ownership rights in dynamic R&D alliances," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 153-173, April.
    3. Andreas Roider, 2004. "Asset Ownership and Contractibility of Interaction," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(4), pages 787-802, Winter.
    4. repec:eee:touman:v:45:y:2014:i:c:p:3-15 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Gattai, Valeria & Natale, Piergiovanna, 2013. "What makes a joint venture: Micro-evidence from Sino-Italian contracts," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 194-205.
    6. Valeria Gattai & Piergiovanna Natale, 2014. "Joint Ventures and the Property Rights Theory of the Firm: a Review of the Literature," Working Papers 287, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2014.
    7. Blonski, Matthias & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2002. "Relational Contracts and Property Rights," CEPR Discussion Papers 3460, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2008. "Joint ownership and the hold-up problem under asymmetric information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(3), pages 577-580, June.

    More about this item


    Incomplete Contracts; Joint Ownership;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure


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