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Implications of breach remedy and renegotiation design for innovation and capacity

  • Author(s): Plambeck, EL
  • Taylor, TA
  • et al.

A manufacturer writes supply contracts with N buyers. Then, the buyers invest in innovation, and the manufacturer builds capacity. Finally, demand is realized, and the firms renegotiate the supply contracts to achieve an efficient allocation of capacity among the buyers. The court remedy for breach of contract (specific performance versus expectation damages) affects how the firms share the gain from renegotiation, and hence how the firms make investments ex ante. The firms may also engage in renegotiation design, inserting simple clauses into the supply contract to shape the outcome of renegotiation. For example, when a buyer grants a financial "hostage" to the manufacturer or is charged a per diem penalty for delay in bargaining, the manufacturer captures the gain from renegotiation. "Tradable options," which grant buyers the right to trade capacity without intervention from the manufacturer, return the gain from renegotiation to the buyers. This paper proves that, under surprisingly general conditions, the firms can coordinate their investments with the simplest of supply contracts (fixed-quantity contracts). This may require renegotiation design, and certainly requires that the firms understand the breach remedy and set their contract parameters accordingly. © 2007 INFORMS.

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