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Incomplete contracts and competition: another look at fisher body/general motors?

  • Antonio Nicita


  • Simone Sepe
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    In this paper we analyze the problem of the enforcement of incomplete contracts with endogenous outside options. Some of the equilibria we outline may reverse one of the main results presented in the standard literature. We then revisit the literature on the highly debated Fisher Body/General Motors merger and suggest an explanation based on GM’s need to control the Fisher brothers’ outside options. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal European Journal of Law and Economics.

    Volume (Year): 34 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 3 (December)
    Pages: 495-514

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:ejlwec:v:34:y:2012:i:3:p:495-514
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    1. Andreas Roider, 2006. "Fisher Body revisited: Supply contracts and vertical integration," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 181-196, September.
    2. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
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    4. Kessler, Anke & Lülfesmann, Christoph, 2000. "The Theory of Human Capital Revisited: On the Interaction of General and Specific Investments," CEPR Discussion Papers 2533, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Helper, Susan & MacDuffie, John Paul & Sabel, Charles, 2000. "Pragmatic Collaborations: Advancing Knowledge While Controlling Opportunism," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(3), pages 443-87, September.
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    7. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1993. "Investments, Holdup, and the Form of Market Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 811-37, September.
    8. Coase, R H, 2000. "The Acquisition of Fisher Body by General Motors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 15-31, April.
    9. Langlois, Richard N. & Robertson, Paul L., 1989. "Explaining Vertical Integration: Lessons from the American Automobile Industry," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(02), pages 361-375, June.
    10. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817.
    11. Freeland, Robert F, 2000. "Creating Holdup through Vertical Integration: Fisher Body Revisited," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 33-66, April.
    12. David De Meza & Ben Lockwood, 1998. "Does Asset Ownership Always Motivate Managers? Outside Options And The Property Rights Theory Of The Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 361-386, May.
    13. Pagano, Ugo, 2000. "Public markets, private orderings and corporate governance," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 453-477, December.
    14. Hart, Oliver D, 1988. "Incomplete Contracts and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 119-39, Spring.
    15. Chatterjee Kalyan & Chiu Y. Stephen, 2007. "When Does Competition Lead to Efficient Investments?," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-39, July.
    16. Sloof, Randolph & Sonnemans, Joep & Oosterbeek, Hessel, 2004. "Specific investments, holdup, and the outside option principle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(6), pages 1399-1410, December.
    17. Casadesus-Masanell, Ramon & Spulber, Daniel F, 2000. "The Fable of Fisher Body," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 67-104, April.
    18. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
    19. Ronald Coase, 2006. "The Conduct of Economics: The Example of Fisher Body and General Motors," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 255-278, 06.
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