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A Dynamic Theory of Holdup

The holdup problem arises when parties negotiate to divide the surplus generated by their ex ante noncontractable investments. We study this problem in a model which, unlike the stylized static model, allows the parties to continue to invest until they agree on the terms of trade. These possible investment dynamics overturn the conventional wisdom dramatically. First, the holdup problem need not entail underinvestment-type inefficiencies when the parties are sufficiently patient. Second, inefficiencies can arise unambiguously, but the reason for their occurrence differs from the one recognized by the static model. This latter finding sheds new light on the design of contracts and organizations.

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File URL: http://www.econ.ed.ac.uk/papers/id74_esedps.pdf
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Paper provided by Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh in its series ESE Discussion Papers with number 74.

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Length: 32
Date of creation: 20 Nov 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:74
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  1. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 6726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-61, October.
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  8. Segal, Ilya, 1999. "Complexity and Renegotiation: A Foundation for Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 57-82, January.
  9. Lockwood, B. & Thomas, J.P., 1999. "Gradualism and Irreversibility," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 525, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  10. Gale, Douglas, 2001. "Monotone Games with Positive Spillovers," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 295-320, November.
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  12. Mathias Dewatripont & Jean Tirole, 1994. "A theory of debt and equity: diversity of securities and manager-shareholder congruence," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9593, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  13. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
  14. 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.
  15. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
  16. Jean Tirole, 1985. "Procurement and Renegotiation," Working papers 362, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  17. Admati, Anat R & Perry, Motty, 1991. "Joint Projects without Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 259-76, April.
  18. Grout, Paul A, 1984. "Investment and Wages in the Absence of Binding Contracts: A Nash Bargining Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 449-60, March.
  19. Che, Y.K. & Hausch, D.B., 1997. "Cooperative Investments and the Value of Contracting," Working papers 9714, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
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