Patrick W. Schmitz
Economic Journal, Vol. 132 (647), 2022, 2563â€“2577.
Abstract. A buyer wants to purchase an innovative good from a seller. Both parties are risk-neutral, and payments from the buyer to the seller must be non-negative. After the contract is signed, the seller privately observes a signal, which may be informative about the seller`s costs. We compare two contracting regimes. In the case of specific performance, the courts enforce the trade level specified in the contract. In the case of at-will contracting, the seller is free to walk away from the contract after the signal has been realized. While the buyer prefers specific performance and the seller prefers at-will contracting, the optimal regime from an economic efficiency point-of-view depends on the informativeness of the signal.
The working paper version is available for download (CEPR Discussion Paper 17109).
The paper is available for download.