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Contract Renegotiation and Rent Re-Redistribution: Who Gets Raked Over the Coals?

Policy shocks affect the rent distribution in long-term contracts, which can lead to such contracts being renegotiated. We seek an understanding of what aspects of contract design, in the face of a substantial policy shock, affect the propensity to renegotiate. We test our hypotheses using data on U.S. coal contracts after the policy shock of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. This law altered the regulation of emissions of sulfur dioxide from coal-fired electric power plants, initiating a tradable permit system for a subset of coal-fired power plants which had previously been unregulated at the federal level. Contracts are divided into two categories, those that were renegotiated following the shock and those that were not and their characteristics are used to determine how they influence whether or not a contract was ultimately renegotiated. The number of years until the contract expires, a larger allowable sulfur content upper bound for plants regulated immediately by the tradable permit scheme, and the minimum quantity are all associated with a contract being renegotiated.

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Paper provided by University of Stirling, Division of Economics in its series Stirling Economics Discussion Papers with number 2009-25.

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Date of creation: Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:stl:stledp:2009-25
Contact details of provider: Postal: Division of Economics, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA
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  1. Hardman Moore, John & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," CEPR Discussion Papers 60, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Joskow, Paul L, 1985. "Vertical Integration and Long-term Contracts: The Case of Coal-burning Electric Generating Plants," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 33-80, Spring.
  3. Mulherin, J Harold, 1986. "Complexity in Long-term Contracts: An Analysis of Natural Gas Contractual Provisions," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(1), pages 105-17, Spring.
  4. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Scholarly Articles 12375014, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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    • Ellerman,A. Denny & Joskow,Paul L. & Schmalensee,Richard & Montero,Juan-Pablo & Bailey,Elizabeth M., 2005. "Markets for Clean Air," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521023894, October.
  9. Paul L. Joskow, 1987. "Price Adjustment in Long Term Contracts: The Case of Coal," Working papers 444, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Neumann, A. & von Hirschhausen, C., 2006. "Long-Term Contracts and Asset Specificity Revisited -An Empirical Analysis of Producer-Importer Relations in the Natural Gas Industry," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0630, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  11. Guasch, J. Luis & Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Straub, Stéphane, 2008. "Renegotiation of concession contracts in Latin America: Evidence from the water and transport sectors," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 421-442, March.
  12. Curtis Carlson & Dallas Burtraw & Maureen Cropper & Karen L. Palmer, 2000. "Sulfur Dioxide Control by Electric Utilities: What Are the Gains from Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1292-1326, December.
  13. Williamson, Oliver E, 1999. "Public and Private Bureaucracies: A Transaction Cost Economics Perspective," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 306-42, April.
  14. Saussier, Stephane, 2000. "Transaction costs and contractual incompleteness: the case of Electricite de France," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 189-206, June.
  15. Crocker, Keith J & Masten, Scott E, 1991. "Pretia ex Machina? Prices and Process in Long-Term Contracts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 69-99, April.
  16. Keith J. Crocker & Scott E. Masten, 1988. "Mitigating Contractual Hazards: Unilateral Options and Contract Length," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 327-343, Autumn.
  17. Lange Ian & Bellas Allen S, 2007. "The 1990 Clean Air Act and the Implicit Price of Sulfur in Coal," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-25, August.
  18. Meghan R. Busse & Nathaniel O. Keohane, 2007. "Market effects of environmental regulation: coal, railroads, and the 1990 Clean Air Act," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(4), pages 1159-1179, December.
  19. Joe Kerkvliet & Jason F. Shogren, 2001. "The Determinants of Coal Contract Duration for the Powder River Basin," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 157(4), pages 608-, December.
  20. Gil, Ricard, 2007. ""Make-or-buy" in movies: Integration and ex-post renegotiation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 643-655, August.
  21. Sotkiewicz, Paul M. & Holt, Lynne, 2005. "Public Utility Commission Regulation and Cost-Effectiveness of Title IV: Lessons for CAIR," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 18(8), pages 68-80, October.
  22. 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.
  23. Rogerson, William P, 1992. "Contractual Solutions to the Hold-Up Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 777-93, October.
  24. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
  25. Victor P. Goldberg, 1976. "Regulation and Administered Contracts," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 7(2), pages 426-448, Autumn.
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