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A simple economic teaching experiment on the hold-up problem

Balkenborg, Dieter and Kaplan, Todd R and Miller, Tim (2010): A simple economic teaching experiment on the hold-up problem.

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Abstract

The hold-up problem is central to the theory of incomplete contracts. It shows how the difficulty to write complete contracts and the resulting need to renegotiate can lead to underinvestment. We describe the design of a simple teaching experiment that illustrates the hold-up problem. The model used is a simple perfect information game. The experiment can hence also be used to illustrate the concept of subgame perfect equilibrium and the problem of making non-binding commitments.

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