IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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


  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-François Hennart, 1991. "The Transaction Costs Theory of Joint Ventures: An Empirical Study of Japanese Subsidiaries in the United States," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(4), pages 483-497, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:37:y:1991:i:4:p:483-497
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.37.4.483

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:37:y:1991:i:4:p:483-497. 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: (Matthew Walls). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.