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Transaction costs and the robustness of the Coase Theorem

  • Luca Anderlini
  • Leonardo Felli

This paper explores the extent to which the presence of ex-ante transaction costs may lead to failures of the Coase Theorem. In particular we identify and investigate the basic ‘hold-up problem’ which arises whenever the parties to a Coasian negotiation have to pay some ex-ante costs for the negotiation to take place. We then show that a ‘Coasian solution’ to this hold-up problem is not available. This is because a Coasian solution to the hold-up problem typically entails a negotation about the payment of the costs associated with the future negotiation which in turn is associated with a fresh set of ex-ante costs, and hence with a new hold-up problem.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/3591/
File Function: Open access version.
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 3591.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:3591
Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.
Phone: +44 (020) 7405 7686
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

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  1. Hardman Moore, John & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," CEPR Discussion Papers 60, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. 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.
  3. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
  4. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli, 1998. "Costly Coasian Contracts," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 362, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  5. Georg Noldeke & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1995. "Option Contracts and Renegotiation: A Solution to the Hold-Up Problem," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(2), pages 163-179, Summer.
  6. Farrell, Joseph & Maskin, Eric, 1989. "Renegotiation in repeated games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 327-360, December.
  7. Benoit, Jean-Pierre & Krishna, Vijay, 1991. "Renegotiation in Finitely Repeated Games," Working Papers 91-34, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  8. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," IDEI Working Papers 37, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  9. Dilip Abreu & David Pearce & Ennio Stacchetti, 1989. "Renegotiation and Symmetry in Repeated Games," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 198, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  10. 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.
  11. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 257-82, March.
  12. Jong-Il Kim & Lawrence J. Lau, 1996. "The sources of Asian Pacific economic growth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(s1), pages 448-54, April.
  13. Dixit, Avinash & Olson, Mancur, 2000. "Does voluntary participation undermine the Coase Theorem?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 309-335, June.
  14. Ariel Rubinstein & Asher Wolinsky, 1989. "Renegotiation-Proof Implementation and Time Preferences," Discussion Papers 850, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  15. Abrea Dilip & Pearce David & Stacchetti Ennio, 1993. "Renegotiation and Symmetry in Repeated Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 217-240, August.
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