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Decision Structures in Franchise Systems of the Plural Form

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  • Sebastian Kranz
  • Shira B. Lewin-Solomons

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Abstract

Many successful franchise chains directly own a positive fraction of stores --- a structure referred to as plural form. We propose that this ownership structure is chosen as a commitment not to expropriate franchisees. The theoretical model is based on an empirical analysis of contract and interview data from the US fast-food sector and well known stylized facts: First, franchisees typically have strong contractual obligations to implement activities selected by the chain. Second, franchisees pay a revenue-based royalty to the chain. Therefore, the chain has incentives to select inefficient activities that yield high revenues but are too costly. If uniform standards require that activities must be the same in company-owned and franchise stores, a substantial fraction of company-owned stores works as a commitment device to select more efficient activities. The theoretical analysis further predicts that a strong contractual commitment to uniform standards is preferable if the fraction of company-owned stores is sufficiently high. This prediction is supported by our data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Bonn Econ Discussion Papers with number bgse8_2008.

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Length: 23
Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bon:bonedp:bgse8_2008

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Postal: Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Fax: +49 228 73 6884
Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de

Related research

Keywords: franchising; plural form; contracts;

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References

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  1. Rubin, Paul H, 1978. "The Theory of the Firm and the Structure of the Franchise Contract," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 223-33, April.
  2. Gallini, Nancy T & Lutz, Nancy A, 1992. "Dual Distribution and Royalty Fees in Franchising," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 471-501, October.
  3. Maness, Robert, 1996. "Incomplete contracts and the choice between vertical integration and franchising," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 101-115, October.
  4. Rajiv Lal, 1990. "Improving Channel Coordination Through Franchising," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 9(4), pages 299-318.
  5. Francine Lafontaine & Kathryn L. Shaw, 2005. "Targeting Managerial Control: Evidence from Franchising," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(1), pages 131-150, Spring.
  6. Francine Lafontaine & Emmanuel Raynaud, 2002. "The Role of Residual Claims and Self-Enforcement in Franchise Contracting," NBER Working Papers 8868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Lewin-Solomons, S.B., 2000. "The Plural Form in Franchising: A Synergism of Market and Hierarchy," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0027, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  8. Mathewson, G Frank & Winter, Ralph A, 1985. "The Economics of Franchise Contracts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 503-26, October.
  9. Norton, Seth W, 1988. "An Empirical Look at Franchising as an Organizational Form," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(2), pages 197-218, April.
  10. Brickley, James A. & Dark, Frederick H., 1987. "The choice of organizational form The case of franchising," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 401-420, June.
  11. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 70, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Francine Lafontaine, 1992. "Agency Theory and Franchising: Some Empirical Results," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(2), pages 263-283, Summer.
  13. Katz, Barbara G. & Joel Owen, 1992. "On the existence of franchise contracts and some of their implications," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 567-593, December.
  14. Lewin-Solomons, S., 2000. "Innovation and Authority in Franchise Systems: An Empirical Exploration of the Plural Form," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0015, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  15. Debajyoti Chakrabarty & Ananish Chaudhuri & Chester Spell, 2002. "Information Structure and Contractual Choice in Franchising," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 158(4), pages 638-, December.
  16. Chong-En Bai & Zhigang Tao, 2000. "Contract Mixing in Franchising as a Mechanism for Public-Good Provision," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 85-113, 03.
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