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Expectation Damages, Divisible Contracts, and Bilateral Investment


  • Ohlendorf, Susanne


This paper examines the efficiency of expectation damages as a breach remedy in a bilateral trade setting with renegotiation and relationship-specific investment by the buyer and the seller. As demonstrated by Edlin and Reichelstein (1996), no contract that specifies only a fixed quantity and a fixed per-unit price can induce efficient investment if marginal cost is constant and deterministic. We show that this result does not extend to more general payoff functions. If both parties face the risk of breaching, the first best becomes attainable with a simple price-quantity contract.

Suggested Citation

  • Ohlendorf, Susanne, 2008. "Expectation Damages, Divisible Contracts, and Bilateral Investment," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 231, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:231

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2013. "Incomplete contracts and optimal ownership of public goods," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 94-96.
    2. Daniel Göller, 2014. "Expectation Damages and Bilateral Cooperative Investments," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 473-498.
    3. Hoppe, Eva I. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2011. "Can contracts solve the hold-up problem? Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 186-199, September.
    4. Bragelien, Iver & Impink, Joost, 2014. "Relationship-Specificity, Bargaining Power Growth, and Firm Performance," Discussion Papers 2014/4, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    5. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2013. "Bargaining position, bargaining power, and the property rights approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 28-31.
    6. Sebastian Kranz, 2013. "Relational Contracting, Repeated Negotiations, and Hold-Up," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000676, David K. Levine.
    7. Goldlücke, Susanne & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2014. "Investments as signals of outside options," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 683-708.
    8. Göller, Daniel & Stremitzer, Alexander, 2014. "Breach remedies inducing hybrid investments," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 26-38.
    9. Schweizer, Urs, 2016. "Efficient incentives from obligation law and the compensation principle," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 54-62.
    10. Ohlendorf, Susanne & Schmitz, Patrick, 2009. "Signaling an Outside Option," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 281, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.

    More about this item


    breach remedies; renegotiation; hold-up;

    JEL classification:

    • K12 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Contract Law
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

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