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Noncontractible Investments and Reference Points

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  • Oliver D. Hart

Abstract

We analyze noncontractible investments in a model with shading. A seller can make an investment that affects a buyer's value. The parties have outside options that depend on asset ownership. When shading is not possible and there is no contract renegotiation, an optimum can be achieved by giving the seller the right to make a take‐it‐or‐leave‐it offer. However, with shading, such a contract creates deadweight losses. We show that an optimal contract will limit the seller's offers, and possibly create ex post inefficiency. Asset ownership can improve matters even if revelation mechanisms are allowed.

Suggested Citation

  • Oliver D. Hart, 2011. "Noncontractible Investments and Reference Points," NBER Working Papers 16929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16929
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2008. "Contracts as Reference Points," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 1-48.
    2. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-1158, December.
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    10. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817.
    11. Fabian Herweg & Klaus Schmidt, 2012. "Loss Aversion and Ex Post Inefficient Renegotiation," CESifo Working Paper Series 4031, CESifo.
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    14. Georg Gebhardt, 2013. "Does Relationship Specific Investment Depend On Asset Ownership? Evidence From A Natural Experiment In The Housing Market," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 201-227, February.
    15. Oliver Hart & Bengt Holmstrom, 2010. "A Theory of Firm Scope," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 483-513.
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    18. Maija Halonen-Akatwijuka & Oliver D. Hart, 2013. "More is Less: Why Parties May Deliberately Write Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 19001, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. George P. Baker & Thomas N. Hubbard, 2004. "Contractibility and Asset Ownership: On-Board Computers and Governance in U. S. Trucking," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1443-1479.
    20. repec:hrv:faseco:34728601 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Bartling, Björn & Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2012. "Use and Abuse of Authority: A Behavioral Foundation of the Employment Relation," CEPR Discussion Papers 9231, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. James D. Adams & Albert N. Link, 2018. "The structure and performance of U.S. research joint ventures: inferences and implications from the Advanced Technology Program," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(5-6), pages 551-575, August.
    3. Mathias Erlei & Wiebke Roß, 2013. "Bounded Rationality as an Essential Component of the Holdup Problem," TUC Working Papers in Economics 0009, Abteilung für Volkswirtschaftslehre, Technische Universität Clausthal (Department of Economics, Technical University Clausthal).
    4. Herweg, Fabian & Karle, Heiko & Müller, Daniel, 2018. "Incomplete contracting, renegotiation, and expectation-based loss aversion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 176-201.
    5. Zhang, Xiong, 2020. "Convertible tranche in securitization," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(C).
    6. Erlei, Mathias & Reinhold, Christian, 2016. "Contracts as reference points—The role of reciprocity effects and signaling effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 133-145.
    7. Agamirova, Maria Е. (Агамирова, Мария) & Dzagurova, Nataliya B. (Дзагурова, Наталия), 2016. "The Legality of Vertical Restraints by the Rule of Reason and the Character of the Specific Investments [Правомерность Вертикальных Ограничивающих Соглашений С Позиции "Взвешенного Подхода&quo," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 6, pages 122-137, December.
    8. Fabian Herweg & Klaus M. Schmidt, 2015. "Loss Aversion and Inefficient Renegotiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(1), pages 297-332.
    9. Berde, Éva, 2013. "A fundamentális transzformáció és a referenciapont szerepe a hiányos szerződések elméletében [The role of basic transformation and reference point in the theory of incomplete contracts]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(7), pages 865-885.
    10. Satoshi Taguchi & Yoshio Kamijo, 2018. "Intentions behind disclosure to promote trust under short-termism: An experimental study," Working Papers SDES-2018-8, Kochi University of Technology, School of Economics and Management, revised Oct 2018.
    11. Schmidt, Klaus, 2017. "The 2016 Nobel Memorial Prize in Contract Theory," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 19, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    12. Göller, Daniel, 2021. "How Long-Term Contracts can Mitigate Inefficient Renegotiation Arising Due to Loss Aversion," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224598, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    13. Oliver Hart, 2017. "Incomplete Contracts and Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(7), pages 1731-1752, July.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • K12 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Contract Law

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