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Bargaining under Incomplete Information, Fairness, and the Hold-Up Problem

  • Siemens, Ferdinand von
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    In the hold-up problem incomplete contracts cause the proceeds of relation-specific investments to be allocated by ex-post bargaining. The present paper investigates the efficiency of incomplete contracts if individuals have heterogeneous preferences implying heterogeneous bargaining behavior and - equally important - preferences are private information. As the sunk investment costs can thus potentially signal preferences, they can influence beliefs and consequently bargaining outcomes. The necessities of signalling are shown to generate very strong investment incentives. These incentives are based on the desire not to reveal information that is unfavorable in the ensuing bargaining. After finding all perfect Bayesian equilibria in pure strategies, the paper derives the necessary and sufficient conditions under which it is optimal to invest and trade efficiently.

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    File URL: http://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/13493/1/57.pdf
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    Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 57.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:57
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    1. Christian Ewerhart, 2006. "The Effect of Sunk Costs on the Outcome of Alternating-Offers Bargaining Between Inequity-Averse Agents," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 58(2), pages 184-203, April.
    2. Gary E Bolton & Axel Ockenfels, 1997. "A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1889, David K. Levine.
    3. M. Rabin, 2001. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 511, David K. Levine.
    4. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    5. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
    6. Crawford, Vincent P, 1982. "A Theory of Disagreement in Bargaining," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 607-37, May.
    7. F. Gul, 2000. "Unobservable Investment and the Hold-Up Problem," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 00s10, Economics Department, Princeton University.
    8. Ellingsen, Tore & Robles, Jack, 2000. "Does Evolution Solve the Hold-up Problem?," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 358, Stockholm School of Economics.
    9. Troger, Thomas, 2002. "Why Sunk Costs Matter for Bargaining Outcomes: An Evolutionary Approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 375-402, February.
    10. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Is There a Hold-up Problem?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 475-494, October.
    11. Lorne Carmichael & W. Bentley MacLeod, 2003. "Caring About Sunk Costs: A Behavioral Solution to Holdup Problems with Small Stakes," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 106-118, April.
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