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Endogenous Property Rights in a Hold up-Experiment

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Abstract

In a hold-up experiment designed to test theoretical predictions following from Hart (1995) and deMeza/Lockwood (1998) regarding investment behavior Sonnemans et al. (2001) (SOS) find only a partial confirmation of theory. According to SOS these deviations from standard theory can be explained by positive reciprocal behavior. In this paper, we replicate the experiment by SOS and add another group of treatments in which asset ownership is endogenized by auctioning off the assets. Our experiment shows that the results by SOS crucially depend on the ownership structure being exogenously assigned by the experimenter. We present experimental evidence that, by and large, corroborates the theoretical predictions made by Hart (1995).

Suggested Citation

  • Mathias Erlei & Philipp Siemer, 2004. "Endogenous Property Rights in a Hold up-Experiment," TUC Working Papers in Economics 0002, Abteilung für Volkswirtschaftslehre, Technische Universität Clausthal (Department of Economics, Technical University Clausthal).
  • Handle: RePEc:tuc:tucewp:0002
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    1. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
    2. Ernst Fehr & Susanne Kremhelmer & Klaus M. Schmidt, 2008. "Fairness and the Optimal Allocation of Ownership Rights," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(531), pages 1262-1284, August.
    3. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    4. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2008. "Contracts as Reference Points," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 1-48.
    5. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    6. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-1158, December.
    7. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    8. 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.
    9. Ernst Fehr & Oliver Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2008. "Contracts as reference points � experimental evidence," IEW - Working Papers 393, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    10. Ernst Fehr & Oliver Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2011. "Contracts as Reference Points--Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 493-525, April.
    11. Hackett, Steven C, 1994. "Is Relational Exchange Possible in the Absence of Reputations and Repeated Contact?," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 360-389, October.
    12. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817.
    13. Sloof, Randolph & Oosterbeek, Hessel & Riedl, Arno & Sonnemans, Joep, 2006. "Breach remedies, reliance and renegotiation," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 263-296, September.
    14. Anderhub, Vital & Konigstein, Manfred & Kubler, Dorothea, 2003. "Long-term work contracts versus sequential spot markets: experimental evidence on firm-specific investment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 407-425, August.
    15. Sonnemans, Joep & Oosterbeek, Hessel & Sloof, Randolp, 2001. "On the Relation between Asset Ownership and Specific Investments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 791-820, October.
    16. Hackett, Steven C, 1993. "Incomplete Contracting: A Laboratory Experimental Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(2), pages 274-297, April.
    17. Hoffman, Elizabeth & Spitzer, Matthew L, 1982. "The Coase Theorem: Some Experimental Tests," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 73-98, April.
    18. Sloof, Randolph & Sonnemans, Joep & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 2004. "Specific investments, holdup, and the outside option principle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 1399-1410, December.
    19. Tore Ellingsen & Magnus Johannesson, 2004. "Is There a Hold-up Problem?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 475-494, October.
    20. David de Meza & Ben Lockwood, 1998. "Does Asset Ownership Always Motivate Managers? Outside Options and the Property Rights Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 361-386.
    21. Randolph Sloof & Hessel Oosterbeek & Joep Sonnemans, 2007. "Does Making Specific Investments Unobservable Boost Investment Incentives?," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(4), pages 911-942, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:germec:v:18:y:2017:i:4:p:411-443 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Mathias Erlei & Wiebke Roß, 2013. "Bounded Rationality as an Essential Component of the Holdup Problem," TUC Working Papers in Economics 0009, Abteilung für Volkswirtschaftslehre, Technische Universität Clausthal (Department of Economics, Technical University Clausthal).
    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. repec:eee:jeborg:v:144:y:2017:i:c:p:153-165 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2017. "Incomplete contracts, shared ownership, and investment incentives," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 153-165.
    7. Mathias Erlei & Heike Schenk-Mathes, 2017. "Bounded Rationality in Principal-Agent Relationships," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 18(4), pages 411-443, November.

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    Keywords

    property rights; hold-up; experiment; endogenous ownership structure;

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