Most Favored Nation Clauses and Investment

44 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2017

Date Written: September 26, 2017


This article examines the effect of most favored nation (MFN) clauses on investment. I find that MFN clauses can increase incentives to invest in product quality. I provide sufficient conditions for when MFN clauses increase investments relative to fixed price contracts. I also find that in some circumstances MFN clauses weaken investment incentives and reduce total welfare. Bilateral negotiating partners may have an incentive to adopt MFN clauses that reduce overall welfare because MFN clauses may benefit the negotiating parties but also extract surplus from third parties. I show that in some cases negotiating parties may be compelled by MFN clauses to enter into a contract even if more efficient investment is achieved without a contract.

Keywords: Most Favored Nation Clauses, Holdup, Investment

JEL Classification: C70, D25, K12, L14

Suggested Citation

Ezrielev, Jay, Most Favored Nation Clauses and Investment (September 26, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Jay Ezrielev (Contact Author)

Elevecon ( email )

United States

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