NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Noncontractible Investments and Reference Points

Oliver D. Hart

NBER Working Paper No. 16929
Issued in April 2011
NBER Program(s):   CF   LE

We analyze noncontractible investments in a model with shading. A seller can make an investment that affects a buyer's value. The parties have outside options that depend on asset ownership. When shading is not possible and there is no contract renegotiation, an optimum can be achieved by giving the seller the right to make a take‐it‐or‐leave‐it offer. However, with shading, such a contract creates deadweight losses. We show that an optimal contract will limit the seller's offers, and possibly create ex post inefficiency. Asset ownership can improve matters even if revelation mechanisms are allowed.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16929

Published: Oliver Hart, 2013. "Noncontractible Investments and Reference Points," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(3), pages 437-456, August. citation courtesy of

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