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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
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  1. Binmore, K. & Piccione, M. & Samuelson, L., 1996. "Evolutionary Stability in Alternating-Offers Bargaining Games," Working papers 9603, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  2. Nash, John, 1953. "Two-Person Cooperative Games," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 21(1), pages 128-140, April.
  3. 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.
  4. Jean Tirole, 1985. "Procurement and Renegotiation," Working papers 362, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Ellingsen, Tore, 1995. "The Evolution of Bargaining Behavior," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 61, Stockholm School of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David K, 1993. "Self-Confirming Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 523-45, May.
  8. D. Foster & P. Young, 2010. "Stochastic Evolutionary Game Dynamics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 493, David K. Levine.
  9. Van Damme, E. & Selten, R. & Winter, E., 1989. "Alternating Bid Bargaining With A Smallest Money Unit," Papers 8932, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  10. Young H. P., 1993. "An Evolutionary Model of Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 145-168, February.
  11. Ariel Rubinstein, 2010. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Levine's Working Paper Archive 252, David K. Levine.
  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. Saez-Marti, Maria & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1998. "Clever agents in Young's evolutionary bargaining model," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 281, Stockholm School of Economics.
  14. Binmore, K. & Samuelson, L., 1995. "Evolutionary Drift and Equilibrium Selection," Working papers 9529, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Ken Binmore & Larry Samuelson, 1999. "Evolutionary Drift and Equilibrium Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 363-393.
  19. Young, H Peyton, 1993. "The Evolution of Conventions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(1), pages 57-84, January.
  20. Samuelson Larry, 1994. "Stochastic Stability in Games with Alternative Best Replies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 35-65, October.
  21. H. Peyton Young, 1998. "Conventional Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(4), pages 773-792.
  22. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1846, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  23. G. Noldeke & L. Samuelson, 2010. "An Evolutionary Analysis of Backward and Forward Induction," Levine's Working Paper Archive 538, David K. Levine.
  24. 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.
  25. M. Kandori & G. Mailath & R. Rob, 1999. "Learning, Mutation and Long Run Equilibria in Games," Levine's Working Paper Archive 500, David K. Levine.
  26. Binmore, Ken, et al, 1998. "Hard Bargains and Lost Opportunities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1279-98, September.
  27. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521555838 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Binmore, K. & Proulx, C. & Samuelson, L. & Swierzbinski, J., 1995. "Hard Bargains and Lost Opportunities," Working papers 9517, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  29. Binmore, K. & Samuelson, L. & Gale, J., 1993. "Learning to be Imperfect: The Ultimatum Game," Working papers 9325, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  30. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114.
  31. Raquel Fernandez & Jacob Glazer, 1989. "Striking for a Bargain Between Two Completely Informed Agents," NBER Working Papers 3108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. 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.
  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.
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