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Comarketing Alliances: Should You Contract on Actions or Outcomes?

  • Pavan Rao Chennamaneni

    ()

    (Department of Marketing, College of Business and Economics, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Whitewater, Wisconsin 53190)

  • Ramarao Desiraju

    ()

    (Department of Marketing, College of Business Administration, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida 32816)

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    Comarketing alliances often involve multiple partners, and a given partner's marketing efforts on behalf of the alliance can indirectly affect the demand of the other partners. Individual partners, however, can ignore the effects of such an externality and invest suboptimally to the detriment of the alliance. This paper examines the relative effectiveness of outcome- and action-based contracts in providing the alliance partners with the incentives to invest appropriately. We develop a mathematical model in which a focal firm (e.g., Sony) contracts with two partners (e.g., McDonald's and Old Navy) when each of these partners is privately informed about the impact of the alliance on its demand. Our analysis evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of outcome- (or output-) and action-based (or input-based) contracts in settings with varying levels of the demand externality. We find that when there is either no externality or a relatively weak positive externality, there is a strict preference for output-based contracts; that preference, however, is reversed with a sufficiently strong positive externality. This paper explains the underlying rationale for these findings. This paper was accepted by Preyas Desai, marketing.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1100.1297
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    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 57 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 (April)
    Pages: 752-762

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:57:y:2011:i:4:p:752-762
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    1. Khalil, F. & Lawarree, J., 1993. "Input Versus Output Monitoring: Who Is the Residual Claimant?," Working Papers 93-01, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    2. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
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    8. Cremer, Jacques & McLean, Richard P, 1985. "Optimal Selling Strategies under Uncertainty for a Discriminating Monopolist When Demands Are Interdependent," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 345-61, March.
    9. Preyas S. Desai & Kannan Srinivasan, 1995. "Demand Signalling Under Unobservable Effort in Franchising: Linear and Nonlinear Price Contracts," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(10), pages 1608-1623, October.
    10. Demski, Joel S. & Sappington, David, 1984. "Optimal incentive contracts with multiple agents," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 152-171, June.
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