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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. Thomas, J.P. & Worrall, T., 1991. "Foreign direct investment and the risk of expropriation," Discussion Paper 1991-26, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Rogerson, William P, 1992. "Contractual Solutions to the Hold-Up Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 777-93, October.
  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. 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.
  5. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Procurement and Renegotiation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 235-59, April.
  6. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1988. "Moral Hazard and Renegotiation in Agency Contracts," Working papers 494, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
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