Transparency, Complementarity and Holdout
This article characterizes the conditions under which holdout (i.e. bargaining inefficiency) may, or may not be significant in a two-sided, one-buyer-many-seller model with complementarity. Our central result is that the severity of holdout (i.e. inefficiency) is critically dependent on three factors, (a) the transparency of the bargaining protocol, (b) the outside option of the buyer, and (c) the marginal contribution of the last seller. We find that although the accepted wisdom that holdout is severe, goes through whenever either the buyer has no outside option, or the bargaining protocol is secret, the holdout problem however is largely resolved whenever either the bargaining protocol is transparent and the buyer has a positive outside option, or if the marginal contribution of the last seller is not too large.
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