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Buyer-Option Contracts Restored: Renegotiation, Inefficient Threats, and the Hold-Up Problem

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  • Thomas P. Lyon

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

  • Eric Rasmusen

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

Abstract

“Buyer option” contracts, in which the buyer selects the product variant to be traded and chooses whether to accept delivery, are often used to solve hold-up problems. We present a simple game that focusses sharply on subgames in which the buyer proposes inefficient actions in order to improve his bargaining position. We argue for one of several alternative ways to model this situation. We then apply that modeling choice to recent models of the foundations of incomplete contracts and show that a buyer option contract is sufficient to induce first-best outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas P. Lyon & Eric Rasmusen, 2004. "Buyer-Option Contracts Restored: Renegotiation, Inefficient Threats, and the Hold-Up Problem," Working Papers 2004-10, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2004-10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    2. Joel Watson, 2007. "Contract, Mechanism Design, and Technological Detail," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 55-81, January.
    3. Lyon, Thomas P & Huang, Haizhou, 2002. "Legal Remedies for Breach of the Regulatory "Contract."," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 107-132, September.
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    6. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 257-282, March.
    7. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114.
    8. repec:cdl:ucsdec:142237 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Paul L. Joskow, 1990. "The Performance of Long-Term Contracts: Further Evidence from Coal Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(2), pages 251-274, Summer.
    10. 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.
    11. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1993. "Investments, Holdup, and the Form of Market Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 811-837, September.
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    13. Maskin, Eric, 2002. "On indescribable contingencies and incomplete contracts," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 725-733, May.
    14. Edlin, Aaron S & Hermalin, Benjamin E, 2000. "Contract Renegotiation and Options in Agency Problems," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 395-423, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Matthew Ellman, 2006. "Specificity Revisited: The Role of Cross-Investments," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 234-257, April.
    2. Joel Watson, 2007. "Contract, Mechanism Design, and Technological Detail," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 55-81, January.
    3. Hoppe, Eva I. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2011. "Can contracts solve the hold-up problem? Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 186-199, September.
    4. Göller, Daniel & Stremitzer, Alexander, 2009. "Breach Remedies Including Hybrid Investments," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 282, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    5. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2004. "Agreeing Now to Agree Later: Contracts that Rule Out but do not Rule In," ESE Discussion Papers 109, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
    6. Bernhard Ganglmair & Luke M. Froeb & Gregory J. Werden, 2012. "Patent Hold-Up and Antitrust: How A Well-Intentioned Rule Could Retard Innovation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(2), pages 249-273, June.
    7. Göller, Daniel & Stremitzer, Alexander, 2014. "Breach remedies inducing hybrid investments," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 26-38.
    8. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2010. "Contractual solutions to hold-up problems with quality uncertainty and unobservable investments," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(5), pages 807-816, September.
    9. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2006. "Book Review of “Contract Theory” (Bolton and Dewatripont, 2005)," MPRA Paper 6977, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2010. "On contractual solutions to hold-up problems with quality uncertainty and unobservable investments," MPRA Paper 23157, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Watson, Joel & Buzard, Kristy, 2012. "Contract, renegotiation, and hold up: Results on the technology of trade and investment," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 7(2), May.
    12. Watson, Joel & Buzard, Kristy, 2012. "Contract, renegotiation, and hold up: Results on the technology of trade and investment," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 7(2), May.
    13. Antonio Nicita & Massimiliano Vatiero, 2014. "Dixit versus Williamson: the ‘fundamental transformation’ reconsidered," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 439-453, June.
    14. Watson, Joel & Wignall, Chris, 2009. "Hold-Up and Durable Trading Opportunities," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt8p8284wg, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
    15. Zvika Neeman & Gregory Pavlov, 2010. "Renegotiation-proof Mechanism Design," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20101, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
    16. Thomas P. Lyon & John W. Maxwell, 2012. "Self-Regulation, Negotiated Agreements and Social Welfare," Working Papers 2012-11, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    17. Antonio Nicita & Massimiliamo Vatiro, 2008. "Incomplete Contracts, Property Rights and Endogenous Outside Options," Department of Economics University of Siena 545, Department of Economics, University of Siena.

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