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Specific Investment, Absence of Commitment and Observability

  • Gonzalez, P.

I consider the problem of the design of an optimal self-selection contract scheme for a principal who is buying a good from an agent which has the opportunity of making a cost-reducing unobservable investment prior to the contracting stage. Because of a hold-up problem, the agent will randomizes on his investment level. This forces the principal to spend informational "rents" to achieve screening. In equilibrium, these "rents" match the investment costs and the resulting contract yields a price schedule such that the marginal revenue of the agent equals his long run marginal cost curve. Since the agent's "type" is an endogenously determined characteristic, I argue that informational "rents" should be interpreted as quasi-rents that stand as a payment factor for investment.

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Paper provided by Laval - Recherche en Energie in its series Papers with number 99-03.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:lavaen:99-03
Contact details of provider: Postal: UNIVERSITE LAVAL, GREEN, DEPARTEMENT D'ECONOMIQUE, QUEBEC G1K 7P4.
Phone: (418) 656-2096
Fax: (418) 656-7412
Web page: http://www.green.ecn.ulaval.ca/

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  1. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1990. "Moral Hazard and Renegotiation in Agency Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1279-1319, November.
  2. Jean Tirole, 1985. "Procurement and Renegotiation," Working papers 362, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Williamson, Oliver E, 1983. "Credible Commitments: Using Hostages to Support Exchange," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 519-40, September.
  4. Thomas, Jonathan & Worrall, Tim, 1990. "Foreign direct investment and the risk of expropriation," Kiel Working Papers 411, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  5. Choi, Yongjae & Esfahani, Hadi Salehi, 1998. "Direct foreign investment and expropriation incentives: A mitigating role for match-specific capital," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 47-59.
  6. Guesnerie, Roger & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1984. "A complete solution to a class of principal-agent problems with an application to the control of a self-managed firm," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 329-369, December.
  7. Rogerson, William P, 1992. "Contractual Solutions to the Hold-Up Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 777-93, October.
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