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Transaction Costs and the Robustness of the Coase Theorem

We develop a model of undescribable events. Examples of events that are well understood by economic agents but are prohibitively difficult to describe in advance abound in real-life. This notion has also pervaded a substantial amount of economic literature. We put forth a model of such events using a simple co-insurance problem as backdrop. Undescribable events in our model are understood by economic agents --- their consequences and probabilities are known --- but are such that every finite description of such events necessarily leaves out relevant features that have a non-negligible impact on the parties' expected utilities. We also show that two key ingredients of our model --- probabilities that are finitely additive but fail countable additivity, and a state space that is small (discrete in our model) in a measure-theoretic sense --- are necessary ingredients of any model of undescribable events that delivers our results.

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Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~03-03-28.

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Date of creation: 28 Mar 2003
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Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~03-03-28
Contact details of provider: Postal: Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
Phone: 202-687-6074
Fax: 202-687-6102
Web page: http://econ.georgetown.edu/
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Order Information: Postal: Roger Lagunoff Professor of Economics Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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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.
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  9. Ariel Rubinstein, 2010. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Levine's Working Paper Archive 661465000000000387, David K. Levine.
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  12. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 257-82, March.
  13. 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.
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  15. 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.
  16. Dixit, Avinash & Olson, Mancur, 2000. "Does voluntary participation undermine the Coase Theorem?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 309-335, June.
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