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Incomplete Contracts, Risk, and Ownership

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  • Hanson, Gordon H

Abstract

This paper develops a model of ownership based on incomplete contracts, specific investments, and risk and tests the model using data on industrial subcontracting in Mexico. The choice of ownership structure involves a trade-off between minimizing holdup risk and spreading natural risk. Concentrating ownership under one party reduces her exposure to holdup but increases her exposure to environmental uncertainty. Using data on Mexican apparel subcontracting, the author finds evidence that supports the model: the share of production subcontracted is high in market segments where demand is highly variable and low in market segments where manufacturers make large relationship-specific investments. Copyright 1995 by Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanson, Gordon H, 1995. "Incomplete Contracts, Risk, and Ownership," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(2), pages 341-363, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:36:y:1995:i:2:p:341-63
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lynne G. Zucker & Michael R. Darby, 1996. "Costly Information in Firm Transformation, Exit, or Persistent Failure," NBER Working Papers 5577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2002:i:2:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Chu-Chia S. Lin & Ivan Png, 2003. "Monitoring costs and the mode of international investment," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(3), pages 261-274, July.
    4. Antinori, Camille M. & Rausser, Gordon C., 2000. "Vertical integration in Mexican community forestry," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt7kd903jn, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    5. Philippe DULBECCO & Isabelle VAGNERON, 1998. "Competition, Co-operation and Subcontracting - Lessons from the Clothing Industry in Thailand," Working Papers 199827, CERDI.
    6. Valeria Gattai, 2006. "From the Theory of the Firm to FDI and Internalisation: A Survey," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 65(2), pages 225-262, November.
    7. John McLaren, 2000. ""Globalization" and Vertical Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1239-1254, December.
    8. 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.
    9. Woodruff, Christopher, 2002. "Non-contractible investments and vertical integration in the Mexican footwear industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(8), pages 1197-1224, October.
    10. Kerschbamer, Rudolf & Maderner, Nina & Tournas, Yanni, 2002. "Idiosyncratic investments, outside opportunities and the boundaries of the firm," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(8), pages 1119-1141, October.
    11. ConcepciĆ³n PeƱarrubia & Gonzalo Olcina, 2002. "Specific investments and coordination failures," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 3(2), pages 1-7.
    12. Jan A. Van Mieghem, 1999. "Coordinating Investment, Production, and Subcontracting," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(7), pages 954-971, July.
    13. Amirah El-Haddad, 2013. "Political Patronage and Economic Opportunity: The Case of Vertical Integration in the Egyptian Clothing Industry," Working Papers 797, Economic Research Forum, revised Nov 2013.

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