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The Transaction Costs Theory of Joint Ventures: An Empirical Study of Japanese Subsidiaries in the United States

Listed author(s):
  • Jean-François Hennart

    (Department of Business Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois 61820)

This paper offers the first large sample empirical study of the factors which influence the choice of Japanese firms between full or partial ownership of their U.S. manufacturing subsidiaries. It studies for the first time the ownership policies of investors of a single home country in a single host country, thus keeping variations within home and host countries constant. One methodological improvement over previous studies is the use as independent variables of the relevant characteristics of the investing firms. These had been proxied in previous studies by data on U.S. industries entered. The results suggest that the degree of ownership taken by Japanese manufacturing investors in their American subsidiaries is driven by the same general transaction costs variables that determine the choices made by their U.S. counterparts: Japanese parents joint venture when they need to combine with other firms intermediate inputs which are subject to high market transaction costs. An intriguing result, however, is the lack of significance of two variables which, in the U.S. case, strongly push towards full control of foreign subsidiaries. In this study neither the Japanese parent's R&D nor its advertising intensities had any significant impact on their ownership policies.

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Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 37 (1991)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 483-497

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:37:y:1991:i:4:p:483-497
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