IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

On the contractual governance of research collaborations: Allocating control and intellectual property rights in the shadow of potential termination

  • Panico, Claudio
Registered author(s):

    This paper investigates the governance design problem of a large company that wants to engage a small and cashless firm into a research collaboration. This analysis reflects the frequently observed collaborations between pharma companies and biotechs, and an actual research contract is assessed to link theory to practice. The governance form refers to the allocation of control rights over the research process and property rights over research output(s), as determined by the initial contract; yet this contract is incomplete. The parties negotiate at a later stage from bargaining positions that depend on the initial choice of the governance, but they also contemplate the possibility that the collaboration will be terminated. By means of a simple model that captures the core aspects of the contractual environment, I answer a key research question: How should governance be designed in the shadow of potential termination to provide the research firm with the incentives to invest in the collaboration? First, it is in the company’s interest to choose a governance form that eliminates the possibility of termination and stabilizes the collaboration whenever possible. Second, if the collaboration cannot be stabilized, the company faces a trade-off between reducing the probability of termination and providing incentives, which is ultimately resolved by making the collaboration highly unstable. Third, property rights and control are substitutes in the governance design: If the company collects more property rights, it must relinquish more control rights.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

    Volume (Year): 40 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 10 ()
    Pages: 1403-1411

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:40:y:2011:i:10:p:1403-1411
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Aghion, P. & Tirole, J., 1993. "On the Management of Innovation," Working papers 93-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    2. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
    3. Baker, George P. & Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J., 2008. "Strategic alliances: Bridges between "islands of conscious power"," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 146-163, June.
    4. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    5. Ashish Arora & Robert P. Merges, 2004. "Specialized supply firms, property rights and firm boundaries," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(3), pages 451-475, June.
    6. Josh Lerner & Ulrike Malmendier, 2005. "Contractibility and the Design of Research Agreements," NBER Working Papers 11292, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Claudio Panico, 2009. "Employment Relationships in Knowledge-Based Firms: Who Should Have Power?," KITeS Working Papers 009, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised May 2009.
    8. Kogut, Bruce, 1989. "The Stability of Joint Ventures: Reciprocity and Competitive Rivalry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(2), pages 183-98, December.
    9. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1998. "Power In A Theory Of The Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 387-432, May.
    10. Reuer, Jeffrey J. & Zollo, Maurizio, 2005. "Termination outcomes of research alliances," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 101-115, February.
    11. Ashish Arora & Alfonso Gambardella, 2010. "Ideas for rent: an overview of markets for technology," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(3), pages 775-803, June.
    12. Lerner, Josh & Merges, Robert P, 1998. "The Control of Technology Alliances: An Empirical Analysis of the Biotechnology Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 125-56, June.
    13. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "The Management of Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1185-1209, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:40:y:2011:i:10:p:1403-1411. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.