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Signaling an Outside Option

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  • Ohlendorf, Susanne
  • Schmitz, Patrick

Abstract

We consider the case of an upstream seller who works to improve an asset that has been specialized to a downstream buyer's needs. The buyer then makes a take it or leave it offer to the seller about how the future surplus should be split. We assume that the seller from the outset has private information about the fraction of the surplus that he can realize on his own, and show that this leads to higher investment compared to the complete information case. This positive effect on investment is countervailed by the occurrence of inefficient separations, which result when the buyer mistakenly tries to call the seller's bluff with a low offer.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:281
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gea M. Lee & Seung Han Yoo, 2013. "Unobserved Investment, Signaling, and Welfare," Discussion Paper Series 1301, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University, revised 2017.
    2. repec:eee:indorg:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:133-164 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:gamebe:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:706-725 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Kusterer, David J. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2017. "The management of innovation: Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 706-725.
    5. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2012. "Public goods and the hold-up problem under asymmetric information," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 642-645.
    6. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2015. "Government versus private ownership of public goods: The role of bargaining frictions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 23-31.
    7. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2017. "Incomplete contracts, shared ownership, and investment incentives," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 153-165.
    8. Müller, Daniel & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2016. "Transaction costs and the property rights approach to the theory of the firm," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 92-107.
    9. repec:eee:ecolet:v:159:y:2017:i:c:p:96-99 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Rao, Neel, 2015. "General training in labor markets: Common value auctions with unobservable investment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 19-45.
    11. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2017. "Asymmetric information and the property rights approach to the theory of the firm," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 96-99.
    12. Gick, Wolfgang, 2015. "A Theory of Delegated Contracting," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113069, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    13. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2014. "Optimal ownership of public goods reconsidered," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 125(1), pages 21-24.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    signaling; relationship-specific investment; incomplete contracts; outside options;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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