Contract, renegotiation, and holdup: Results on the technology of trade and investment

Kristy Buzard, Joel Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This paper examines a class of contractual relationships with specific investment, a nondurable trading opportunity, and renegotiation. Trade actions are modeled as individual and trade-action-based option contracts ("nonforcing contracts") are explored. The paper introduces the distinction between divided and unified investment and trade actions, and it shows the key role this distinction plays in determining whether efficient investment and trade can be achieved. Under a nonforcing dual-option contract, the party without the trade action is made the residual claimant with regard to the investment action, which induces efficient investment in the divided case. The unified case is more problematic: here, efficiency is typically not attainable, but the dual-option contract is still optimal in a wide class of settings. More generally, the paper shows that, with ex post renegotiation, constraining parties to use "forcing contracts" implies a strict reduction in the set of implementable value functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-322
Number of pages40
JournalTheoretical Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Contract
  • Forcing contracts
  • Holdup
  • Mechanism design
  • Nonforcing contracts
  • Renegotiation
  • Specific investment
  • Technology of trade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance


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