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Does Evolution Solve the Hold-up Problem?

  • Ellingsen, Tore

    ()

    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Robles, Jack

    (University of Colorado, Department of Economics)

The paper examines the theoretical foundations of the hold-up problem. At a first stage, one agent decides on the level of a relationship-specific investment. There is no contract, so at a second stage the agent must bargain with a trading partner over the surplus that the investment has generated. We show that the conventional underinvestment result hinges crucially both on the assumed bargaining game and on the choice of equilibrium concept. In particular, we prove the following two results. (i) If bargaining proceeds according to the Nash demand game, any investment level is subgame perfect, but only efficient outcomes are stochastically stable. (ii) If bargaining proceeds according to the ultimatum game (with the trading partner as proposer), only the minimal investment level is subgame perfect, but any investment level is stochastically stable.

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Paper provided by Stockholm School of Economics in its series SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance with number 358.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 17 Feb 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0358
Contact details of provider: Postal: The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
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Fax: +46-(0)8-31 01 57
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  1. Binmore, K. & Piccione, M. & Samuelson, L., 1996. "Evolutionary Stability in Alternating-Offers Bargaining Games," Working papers 9603r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  2. Fernandez, Raquel & Glazer, Jacob, 1991. "Striking for a Bargain between Two Completely Informed Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 240-52, March.
  3. repec:att:wimass:9517 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 6726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Fudenberg, D. & Levine, D.K., 1991. "Self-Confirming Equilibrium ," Working papers 581, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Binmore, Ken & Piccione, Michele & Samuelson, Larry, 1998. "Evolutionary Stability in Alternating-Offers Bargaining Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 257-291, June.
  8. Samuelson Larry, 1994. "Stochastic Stability in Games with Alternative Best Replies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 35-65, October.
  9. Ariel Rubinstein, 2010. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Levine's Working Paper Archive 252, David K. Levine.
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  11. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
  12. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Young, H Peyton, 1998. "Conventional Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 773-92, October.
  14. Gale, John & Binmore, Kenneth G. & Samuelson, Larry, 1995. "Learning to be imperfect: The ultimatum game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 56-90.
  15. Erik van Damme & Reinhard Selten & Eyal Winter, 1989. "Alternating Bid Bargaining with a Smallest Money Unit," Discussion Paper Serie A 253, University of Bonn, Germany.
  16. Young H. P., 1993. "An Evolutionary Model of Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 145-168, February.
  17. Weibull, Jörgen W. & Saez-Marti, Maria, 1998. "Clever Agents in Young's Evolutionary Bargaining Model," Working Paper Series 507, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  18. Binmore, K. & Samuelson, L., 1997. "Evolutionary Drift and Equilibrium Selection," Working papers 9729r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  19. Nash, John, 1953. "Two-Person Cooperative Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 21(1), pages 128-140, April.
  20. Binmore, Ken, et al, 1998. "Hard Bargains and Lost Opportunities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1279-98, September.
  21. Jean Tirole, 1985. "Procurement and Renegotiation," Working papers 362, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  22. Shelanski, Howard A & Klein, Peter G, 1995. "Empirical Research in Transaction Cost Economics: A Review and Assessment," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 335-61, October.
  23. Ellingsen, Tore, 1995. "The Evolution of Bargaining Behavior," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 61, Stockholm School of Economics.
  24. M. Kandori & G. Mailath & R. Rob, 1999. "Learning, Mutation and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 500, David K. Levine.
  25. Binmore, K. & Proulx, C. & Samuelson, L. & Swierzbinski, J., 1996. "Hard Bargains and Lost Opportunities," Working papers 9517r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  26. Hackett, Steven C, 1994. "Is Relational Exchange Possible in the Absence of Reputations and Repeated Contact?," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 360-89, October.
  27. Noeldecke,Georg & Samuelson,Larry, . "An evolutionary analysis of backward and forward induction," Discussion Paper Serie B 228, University of Bonn, Germany.
  28. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114, January.
  29. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
  30. Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus, 2000. "Is There a Hold-up Problem?," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 357, Stockholm School of Economics.
  31. Binmore, Ken & Samuelson, Larry, 1999. "Evolutionary Drift and Equilibrium Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 363-93, April.
  32. repec:att:wimass:9325 is not listed on IDEAS
  33. 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.
  34. D. Foster & P. Young, 2010. "Stochastic Evolutionary Game Dynamics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 493, David K. Levine.
  35. Haller, Hans & Holden, Steinar, 1990. "A letter to the editor on wage bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 232-236, October.
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