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Vertical Integration and Market Structure

In: The Handbook of Organizational Economics

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  • Timothy Bresnahan
  • Jonathan Levin

Abstract

Contractual theories of vertical integration derive firm boundaries as an efficient response to market transaction costs. These theories predict a relationship between underlying features of transactions and observed integration decisions. There has been some progress in testing these predictions, but less progress in quantifying their importance. One difficulty is that empirical applications often must consider firm structure together with industry structure. Research in industrial organization frequently has adopted this perspective, emphasizing how scale and scope economies, and strategic considerations, influence patterns of industry integration. But this research has paid less attention to contractual or organizational details, so that these two major lines of research on vertical integration have proceeded in parallel with only rare intersection. We discuss the value of combining different viewpoints from organizational economics and industrial organization.
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Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Bresnahan & Jonathan Levin, 2012. "Vertical Integration and Market Structure," Introductory Chapters, in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.),The Handbook of Organizational Economics, Princeton University Press.
  • Handle: RePEc:pup:chapts:9889-21
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure

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