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Does Evolution Solve the Hold-up Problem

Listed author(s):
  • Tore Ellingsen

    (Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Jack Robles

    (University of Colorado)

We examine the theoretical foundations of the hold-up problem. At a first stage, one agent decides on the level of a relationship specific invesment. There is no contract, so at a second stage the agent must bargain with a trading partner over the surplus generated by the investment. We show that the conventional underinvestment result hinges crucially both on the assumed bargaining game and on hte choice of equilibrium concept. In particular, we prove the following two results. (i) If bargaining proceeds according to the Nash demand game, any investment level is subgame perfect, but only efficient oucomes are evolutionarily stable. (ii) If bargaining proceeds according to the ultimatum game (with the trading partner as proposer,) only the minimal investment level is subgame perfect, but any investment level is evolutionarily stable.

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File URL: http://fmwww.bc.edu/RePEc/es2000/1525.pdf
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Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 1525.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1525
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  1. Binmore, K. & Samuelson, L., 1995. "Evolutionary Drift and Equilibrium Selection," Working papers 9529, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  2. Binmore, K. & Piccione, M. & Samuelson, L., 1996. "Evolutionary Stability in Alternating-Offers Bargaining Games," Working papers 9603r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  3. Young H. P., 1993. "An Evolutionary Model of Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 145-168, February.
  4. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1846, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 1993. "Self-Confirming Equilibrium," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2147, David K. Levine.
  6. Kandori, Michihiro & Mailath, George J & Rob, Rafael, 1993. "Learning, Mutation, and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 29-56, January.
  7. Noldeke Georg & Samuelson Larry, 1993. "An Evolutionary Analysis of Backward and Forward Induction," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 425-454, July.
  8. Gale, John & Binmore, Kenneth G. & Samuelson, Larry, 1995. "Learning to be imperfect: The ultimatum game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 56-90.
  9. 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.
  10. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
  11. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114.
  12. Tore Ellingsen, 1997. "The Evolution of Bargaining Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 581-602.
  13. Binmore, K. & Proulx, C. & Samuelson, L. & Swierzbinski, J., 1996. "Hard Bargains and Lost Opportunities," Working papers 9517r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  14. van Damme, E.E.C. & Selten, R. & Winter, E., 1990. "Alternating bid bargaining with a smallest money unit," Other publications TiSEM b8a7cc1a-cef1-470a-9239-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  15. Binmore, Ken & Piccione, Michele & Samuelson, Larry, 1998. "Evolutionary Stability in Alternating-Offers Bargaining Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 257-291, June.
  16. Nash, John, 1953. "Two-Person Cooperative Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 21(1), pages 128-140, April.
  17. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2000. "Is There a Hold-up Problem?," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 357, Stockholm School of Economics.
  18. Saez-Marti, Maria & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1998. "Clever agents in Young's evolutionary bargaining model," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 281, Stockholm School of Economics.
  19. Ken Binmore & Larry Samuelson, 1999. "Evolutionary Drift and Equilibrium Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 363-393.
  20. Samuelson Larry, 1994. "Stochastic Stability in Games with Alternative Best Replies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 35-65, October.
  21. D. Foster & P. Young, 2010. "Stochastic Evolutionary Game Dynamics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 493, David K. Levine.
  22. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Procurement and Renegotiation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 235-259, April.
  23. H. Peyton Young, 1998. "Conventional Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(4), pages 773-792.
  24. Haller, Hans & Holden, Steinar, 1990. "A letter to the editor on wage bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 232-236, October.
  25. Binmore, Ken, et al, 1998. "Hard Bargains and Lost Opportunities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1279-1298, September.
  26. Grout, Paul A, 1984. "Investment and Wages in the Absence of Binding Contracts: A Nash Bargining Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 449-460, March.
  27. Binmore, K. & Samuelson, L. & Gale, J., 1993. "Learning to be Imperfect: The Ultimatum Game," Working papers 9325, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  28. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
  29. 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.
  30. Fernandez, Raquel & Glazer, Jacob, 1991. "Striking for a Bargain between Two Completely Informed Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 240-252, March.
  31. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521555838 is not listed on IDEAS
  32. Hackett, Steven C, 1994. "Is Relational Exchange Possible in the Absence of Reputations and Repeated Contact?," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 360-389, October.
  33. 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 335-361, October.
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