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Abstract:

Theoretical Economics Paper
Transaction Costs and the Robustness of the Coase Theorem
Luca Anderlini and Leonardo Felli
February 2001
Paper No' TE/2001/409:
Full Paper (pdf)

Tags: transaction costs; hold-up problem; coase theorem; coasian negotiation

This paper explores the extent to which the presence of ex-ante transaction costs may lead to failures of the Coase Theorem. In particular we identify and investigate the basic 'hold-up problem' which arises whenever the parties to a Coasian negotiation have to pay some ex-ante costs for the negotiation to take place. We then show that a 'Coasian solution' to this hold-up problem is not available. This is because a Coasian solution to the hold-up problem typically entails a negotation about the payment of the costs associated with the future negotiation which in turn is associated with a fresh set of ex-ante costs, and hence with a new hold-up problem.