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Strategic Shirking in Bilateral Trade

This paper explores a version of the canonical holdup model where agents undertake specific investments prior to their transaction. In this setting, we identify a novel reason for contractual inefficiency. An investing party (here, the seller) may shirk for strategic reasons, in particular, exert an effort so low that subsequent trade becomes inefficient. We first show that under a fixed-price contract which would otherwise be optimal and induce trade, strategic shirking can arise irrespective of the precontracted trade price. We then establish that if strategic shirking arises under a fixed-price contract, no general mechanism exists which restores efficient trade. Finally, we show that the defection issue is more severe when the parties trade after the buyer's valuation was realized, as compared to a scenario where the trade transaction is finalized in a state of uncertainty.

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File URL: http://www.sfu.ca/econ-research/RePEc/sfu/sfudps/dp07-21.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University in its series Discussion Papers with number dp07-21.

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Length: 29
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sfu:sfudps:dp07-21
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
Phone: (778)782-3508
Fax: (778)782-5944
Web page: http://www.sfu.ca/economics.html

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Order Information: Postal: Working Paper Coordinator, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "The Management of Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1185-1209, November.
  2. Christoph Lulfesmann, 2005. "Wealth Contraints and Option Contracts in Models with Sequential Investments," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(4), pages 753-770, Winter.
  3. repec:att:wimass:9714 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Georg Nöldeke & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1992. "Option Contracts and Renegotiation - A Solution to the Hold-Up Problem," Discussion Paper Serie A 417, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Aug 1993.
  5. Klaus Schmidt, 1999. "Convertible Securities and Venture Capital Finance," CESifo Working Paper Series 217, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Lerner, Josh & Merges, Robert P, 1998. "The Control of Technology Alliances: An Empirical Analysis of the Biotechnology Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 125-56, June.
  7. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
  8. Andreas Roider, 2002. "Asset Ownership and Contractability of Interaction," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse12_2002, University of Bonn, Germany, revised May 2003.
  9. Maskin, Eric & Moore, John, 1999. "Implementation and Renegotiation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 39-56, January.
  10. Aghion, P. & Tirole, J., 1993. "On the Management of Innovation," Working papers 93-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Aaron S. Edlin & Stefan Reichelstein, 1995. "Holdups, Standard Breach Remedies, and Optimal Investment," NBER Working Papers 5007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Donald B. Hausch & Yeon-Koo Che, 1999. "Cooperative Investments and the Value of Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 125-147, March.
  13. Grout, Paul A, 1984. "Investment and Wages in the Absence of Binding Contracts: A Nash Bargining Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 449-60, March.
  14. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2002. "On the Interplay of Hidden Action and Hidden Information in Simple Bilateral Trading Problems," MPRA Paper 12531, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Chung, Tai-Yeong, 1991. "Incomplete Contracts, Specific Investments, and Risk Sharing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(5), pages 1031-42, October.
  16. William P. Rogerson, 1994. "Economic Incentives and the Defense Procurement Process," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 65-90, Fall.
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