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Complementarity Among Vertical Integration Decisions: Evidence from Automobile Product Development

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  • Sharon Novak

    () (MIT Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142)

  • Scott Stern

    () (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208)

Abstract

This paper examines complementarity among vertical integration decisions in automobile product development. Though most research assumes that contracting choices are independent of each other, contracting complementarity arises when the returns to a single vertical integration decision are increasing in the level of vertical integration associated with other contracting choices. First, effective coordination may depend on the level of (noncontractible) effort on the part of each agent; contracting complementarity results if coordination efforts are interdependent and vertical integration facilitates a higher level of noncontractible effort. Second, effective coordination may require the disclosure of proprietary trade secrets, and the potential for expropriation by external suppliers may induce complementarity among vertical integration choices. We provide evidence for complementarity in product development contracting by taking advantage of a detailed data set that includes the level of vertical integration and the contracting environment for individual automobile systems in the luxury automobile segment. Using an instrumental variables framework that distinguishes complementarity from unobserved firm-level factors, the evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that contracting complementarity is an important driver of vertical integration choices. The findings suggest that contracting complementarity may be particularly important when coordination is important to achieve but difficult to monitor.

Suggested Citation

  • Sharon Novak & Scott Stern, 2009. "Complementarity Among Vertical Integration Decisions: Evidence from Automobile Product Development," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(2), pages 311-332, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:55:y:2009:i:2:p:311-332
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1080.0924
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Van Biesebroeck, Johannes & Zhang, Lijun, 2014. "Interdependent product cycles for globally sourced intermediates," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 143-156.
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    3. Schmid, Stefan & Grosche, Philipp & Mayrhofer, Ulrike, 2016. "Configuration and coordination of international marketing activities," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 535-547.
    4. Prasanna Tambe & Lorin M. Hitt & Erik Brynjolfsson, 2012. "The Extroverted Firm: How External Information Practices Affect Innovation and Productivity," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(5), pages 843-859, May.
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    6. Tian Chan & Francis de Véricourt & Omar Besbes, 2014. "Contracting in medical equipment maintenance services: An empirical investigation," ESMT Research Working Papers ESMT-14-05, ESMT European School of Management and Technology.
    7. Sinan Aral & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lynn Wu, 2012. "Three-Way Complementarities: Performance Pay, Human Resource Analytics, and Information Technology," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(5), pages 913-931, May.
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    9. Brahm, Francisco & Tarziján, Jorge, 2012. "The impact of complexity and managerial diseconomies on hierarchical governance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 586-599.
    10. Steve Berry & Ahmed Khwaja & Vineet Kumar & Andres Musalem & Kenneth Wilbur & Greg Allenby & Bharat Anand & Pradeep Chintagunta & W. Hanemann & Przemek Jeziorski & Angelo Mele, 2014. "Structural models of complementary choices," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 245-256, September.
    11. repec:bla:stratm:v:37:y:2016:i:12:p:2481-2502 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Moeen, Mahka & Somaya, Deepak & Mahoney, Joseph T., 2011. "Supply Portfolio Concentration in Outsourced Knowledge-Based Services," Working Papers 11-0106, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Business.
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    14. Lamar Pierce, 2012. "Organizational Structure and the Limits of Knowledge Sharing: Incentive Conflict and Agency in Car Leasing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(6), pages 1106-1121, June.
    15. Russell Thomson & Elizabeth Webster, 2011. "External Ventures: Why Firms Don't Develop All Their Inventions In-house," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2011n19, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    16. Matsushima Noriaki & Mizuno Tomomichi, 2012. "Equilibrium Vertical Integration with Complementary Input Markets," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-32, June.
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    18. repec:bla:stratm:v:38:y:2017:i:2:p:300-321 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Jose A. Guajardo & Morris A. Cohen & Sang-Hyun Kim & Serguei Netessine, 2012. "Impact of Performance-Based Contracting on Product Reliability: An Empirical Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(5), pages 961-979, May.
    20. Mirajul Haq & Syed Kafait Hussain Naqvi & Muhammad Luqman, 2016. "Is the Value Addition in Services and Manufacturing Complementary? Empirical Evidence from SAARC," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 21(2), pages 31-52, July-Dec.
    21. Kopel, Michael & Löffler, Clemens & Pfeiffer, Thomas, 2016. "Sourcing strategies of a multi-input-multi-product firm," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 30-45.
    22. Erik Brynjolfsson & Kristina McElheran, 2016. "Data in Action: Data-Driven Decision Making in U.S. Manufacturing," Working Papers 16-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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