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Costly contingent contracts

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We identify and investigate the basic ?hold-up? problem which arises whenever each party to a contingent contract has to pay some ex-ante cost for the contract to become feasible. We then proceed to show that, under plausible circumstances, a ?contractual solution? to this hold-up problem is not available. This is because a contractual solution to the hold-up problem typically entails writing a ?contract over a contract? which generates a fresh set of ex-ante costs, and hence is associated with a new hold-up problem. We conclude the paper investigating two applications of our results to a static and to a dynamic principal-agent model.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/3598/

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