Pre-Trade Risky Investments

Posted: 3 Jul 2016

Date Written: June 20, 2016


The paper investigates stochastic private investment prior to trade. We study the incentives of a seller of an asset who can undertake risky investments to change its quality, which is not observable by potential buyers. We find that, even when investing is not efficient, the seller undertakes investment for speculative motives: if the investment's outcome is good she may keep the asset, while if it is not she sells it. Such an investment increases the adverse selection problem, generates an endogenous price dispersion, and it may end up destroying most of the gains from trade. As a result, in some cases, the seller maximizes her rents from trade when the cost of investment to be intermediate instead of too low or too high. Our results apply both when the price is set by a monopsonist and when it set through competition among many buyers. We use our model to the analyze the hold-up problem under stochastic investments.

Keywords: Private Investment, Hold Up Problem, Pre-trade Learning, Price Dispersion

JEL Classification: D82, D83, D42, L15

Suggested Citation

Dilme, Francesc, Pre-Trade Risky Investments (June 20, 2016). Available at SSRN:

Francesc Dilme (Contact Author)

University of Bonn ( email )

Lennestrasse 35
53113 Bonn
0049228737957 (Phone)

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