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

Entrepreneurs, Contracts, and the Failure of Young Firms

  • Pierre Azoulay


    (Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 50 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142-1347)

  • Scott Shane


    (Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, 4321 Hartwick Road, Suite 300, College Park, Maryland 20740)

Registered author(s):

    Although economic theory has emphasized that moral hazard and hold-up problems influence the design of contracts, very little is known about the process by which explicit contracts are established and the effect of contractual arrangements on firm performance. This paper attempts to demonstrate that firms are selected for survival on the basis of contracting efficiency. Based on a statistical analysis of 170 new franchise contracts and interviews with the founders of 16 of these new franchise systems, we show that new franchise chains that adopt exclusive territories are more likely to survive over time than chains that do not. Moreover, successful and failed entrepreneurs possess different information about how to design contracts. These entrepreneurs undertake "contractual experiments" based on the information they possess. Those whose experiments prove to be more consistent with economic theory are rewarded for their superior information with survival.

    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: no

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 47 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 3 (March)
    Pages: 337-358

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:47:y:2001:i:3:p:337-358
    Contact details of provider: Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA
    Phone: +1-443-757-3500
    Fax: 443-757-3515
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    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:inm:ormnsc:v:47:y:2001:i:3:p:337-358. 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: (Mirko Janc)

    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.