Yossi Feinberg and Morten I. Kamien

"Highway robbery: complementary monopoly and the hold-up problem"
JEL codes: L1; O3
Keywords: Joint ventures; Absorptive capacity; Subgame perfect Nash equilibrium

Abstract: We analyze the hold-up problem in the context of the Cournot-Ellet theory of complementary monopoly. The strategic interaction among travelers and two distinct owners of successive segments of a segment road is used as a metaphor for complementary goods that are traded sequentially. It is shown that when trade occurs double marginalization is eliminated. Furthermore, allowing for strategic placement of the tollbooths (simultaneous trade) avoids the hold-up problem but not double marginalization. Thus, this analysis suggests the endogenous creation of institutions among complementary monopolistic suppliers that assure their customers of not being held up whenever it is strategically possible.

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