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Sunk Investments Lead to Unpredictable Prices (Second Version)

Author

Listed:
  • George J.Mailath

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Andrew Postlewaite

    () (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

  • Larry Samuelson

    () (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin)

Abstract

We study transactions that require investments before trading in a competitive market, when forward contracts fixing the transaction price are absent. We show that, despite the market being perfectly competitive and subject to arbitrarily little uncertainty, the inability to jointly determine investment levels and prices may make it impossible for buyers and sellers to predict the prices at which they will trade, leading to inefficient levels of investment and trade.

Suggested Citation

  • George J.Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite & Larry Samuelson, 2003. "Sunk Investments Lead to Unpredictable Prices (Second Version)," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-007, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 30 Jan 2004.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:04-007
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    File URL: https://economics.sas.upenn.edu/sites/default/files/filevault/working-papers/04-007.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    2. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 2003. "Financial Fragility, Liquidity and Asset Prices," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 01-37, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    3. Paul Milgrom & Ilya Segal, 2002. "Envelope Theorems for Arbitrary Choice Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 583-601, March.
    4. Manuelli, Rodolfo & Peck, James, 1992. "Sunspot-like effects of random endowments," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 193-206, April.
    5. Shiller, Robert J & Weiss, Allan N, 1999. "Home Equity Insurance," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 21-47, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jones, Luke R. & Vossler, Christian A., 2014. "Experimental tests of water quality trading markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 449-462.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sunk investments; inefficient investments; sunspots; random prices.;

    JEL classification:

    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General
    • D50 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - General

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