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Does Evolution Solve the Hold-up Problem?

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  • Ellingsen, Tore

    () (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Robles, Jack

    (University of Colorado, Department of Economics)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ellingsen, Tore & Robles, Jack, 2000. "Does Evolution Solve the Hold-up Problem?," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 358, Stockholm School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0358
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Calabuig, Vicente & Olcina, Gonzalo, 2009. "Cooperation and cultural transmission in a coordination game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 188-201, October.
    2. Siemens, Ferdinand von, 2005. "Bargaining under Incomplete Information, Fairness, and the Hold-Up Problem," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 57, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    3. Robles, Jack, 2001. "Evolution in Finitely Repeated Coordination Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 312-330, February.
    4. Kurtis Swope & Pamela Schmitt & John Cadigan & Ryan Wielgus, 2010. "Contracts, Behavior, and the Land-Assembly Problem:An Experimental Study," Departmental Working Papers 29, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
    5. Fabrizio Panebianco, 2016. "The role of persuasion in cultural evolution dynamics," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 63(3), pages 233-258, September.
    6. L. Bagnoli & G. Negroni, 2012. "On the coevolution of social norms in primitive societies," Working Papers wp858, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    7. Dawid, Herbert & MacLeod, W. Bentley, 2008. "Hold-up and the evolution of investment and bargaining norms," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 26-52, January.
    8. repec:spr:jeicoo:v:12:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11403-016-0180-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Herbert Dawid & Joern Dermietzel, 2006. "How Robust is the Equal Split Norm? Responsive Strategies, Selection Mechanisms and the Need for Economic Interpretation of Simulation Parameters," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 28(4), pages 371-397, November.
    10. Christian Ewerhart, 2006. "The Effect of Sunk Costs on the Outcome of Alternating-Offers Bargaining Between Inequity-Averse Agents," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 58(2), pages 184-203, April.
    11. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Is There a Hold-up Problem?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 475-494, October.
    12. Birendra K. Rai, 2006. "Evolution of Division Rules," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2006-27, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    13. Troger, Thomas, 2002. "Double Auctions, Ex-Post Participation Constraints, and the Hold-Up Problem," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt5qv060md, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    14. Bahry, Donna L. & Wilson, Rick K., 2006. "Confusion or fairness in the field? Rejections in the ultimatum game under the strategy method," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 37-54, May.
    15. Sebastian Kranz, 2013. "Relational Contracting, Repeated Negotiations, and Hold-Up," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000676, David K. Levine.
    16. Pitchford, Rohan & Snyder, Christopher M., 2004. "A solution to the hold-up problem involving gradual investment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 88-103, January.
    17. Kevin Hasker, 2014. "The Emergent Seed: A Representation Theorem for Models of Stochastic Evolution and two formulas for Waiting Time," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000954, David K. Levine.
    18. Andreozzi, Luciano, 2010. "An evolutionary theory of social justice: Choosing the right game," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 320-329, September.
    19. Andreozzi, Luciano, 2012. "Property rights and investments: An evolutionary approach," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 1-11.
    20. Deltas, George, 2006. "Overinvestment in partially relationship-specific assets and R&D," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 466-475, July.
    21. Olcina, Gonzalo & Penarrubia, Concepcion, 2004. "Hold up and intergenerational transmission of preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 111-132, May.
    22. Troger, Thomas, 2002. "Double Auctions, Ex-Post Participation Constraints, and the Hold-Up Problem," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt3f2509gz, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    23. L. Bagnoli & G. Negroni, 2013. "Egalitarianism. An evolutionary perspective," Working Papers wp888, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    24. Siemens, Ferdinand von, 2005. "Bargaining under Incomplete Information, Fairness, and the Hold-Up Problem," Discussion Papers in Economics 518, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Specific investments; opportunism; evolution; fairness;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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