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Contracts and Specific Investment: An Empirical Test of Transaction Cost Theory

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  • Lyons, Bruce R
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    Abstract

    Empirical work has failed to keep pace with recent advances in transaction cost theory and the theory of contract. The first econometric analysis of its kind is reported by using a new data set of small subcontractors making specific inputs for customers in the engineering industry. The use of formal contracts is found to be strongly associated with specific investment and other variables measuring technological complexity and vulnerability to potential opportunism by customers. Furthermore, despite typically long-term relationships, over half of subcontractors avoid making efficient, specific investments. Overall, we find strong support for the transaction cost theory of contracts. Copyright 1994 by MIT Press.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Economics & Management Strategy.

    Volume (Year): 3 (1994)
    Issue (Month): 2 (Summer)
    Pages: 257-78

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:3:y:1994:i:2:p:257-78

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    Web page: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/journals/JEMS/

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    Web: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=1058-6407&site=1

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    Cited by:
    1. Marianne Fischman & Emeric Lendjel, 2012. "Maritime Ports And Inland Interconnections: A Transactional Analysis Of Container Barge Transport In France," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00741127, HAL.
    2. McCann, Laura & Colby, Bonnie & Easter, K. William & Kasterine, Alexander & Kuperan, K.V., 2005. "Transaction cost measurement for evaluating environmental policies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 527-542, March.
    3. Michel S. Zouboulakis & John Kamarianos, 2002. "Racionalidad y cooperación entre firmas. Examen del comportamiento habitual de las industrias griegas," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 4(7), pages 98-113, July-Dece.
    4. López-Bayón, Susana & González-Díaz, Manuel, 2010. "Indefinite contract duration: Evidence from electronics subcontracting," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 145-159, June.
    5. Marianne Fischman & Emeric Lendjel, 2012. "Maritime Ports And Inland Interconnections: A Transactional Analysis Of Container Barge Transport In France," Post-Print halshs-00741127, HAL.
    6. Zoltán Bakucs, Lajos & Fertő, Imre & Szabó, Gábor G., 2010. "Contractual relationships in the Hungarian milk sector," IAMO Forum 2010: Institutions in Transition – Challenges for New Modes of Governance 52700, Leib­niz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO).
    7. Marco Furlotti, 2007. "There is more to contracts than incompleteness: a review and assessment of empirical research on inter-firm contract design," Journal of Management and Governance, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 61-99, March.
    8. Steer, Liesbet & Sen, Kunal, 2010. "Formal and Informal Institutions in a Transition Economy: The Case of Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 1603-1615, November.
    9. Catherine Matraves, 2002. "European Integration and Market Structure in the Soft Drinks Industry," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(3), pages 295-310.
    10. Bardos, Krisztina & Ferto, Imre, 2006. "The Contract Choice of Retailers in Hungarian Beef Sector," 99th Seminar, February 8-10, 2006, Bonn, Germany 7746, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    11. Coles, Jerilyn W. & Hesterly, William S., 1998. "Transaction costs, quality, and economies of scale: examining contracting choices in the hospital industry," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 321-345, December.
    12. Andrabi, Tahir & Ghatak, Maitreesh & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz, 2006. "Subcontractors for tractors: Theory and evidence on flexible specialization, supplier selection, and contracting," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 273-302, April.
    13. Scott E. Masten, 2002. "Modern Evidence on the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 428-432, May.

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