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On Synergies and Vertical Integration

  • Schmitz, Patrick
  • Dirk Sliwka

We analyze in an incomplete contracts model whether a supplier should be integrated if in addition to his investment level he chooses the intensity of specialization towards the buyer's needs. A basic trade-off arises: While non-integration leads to higher investment incentives, potential synergies are foregone. Hence, integration can be optimal even though only the supplier makes an investment decision. This may also yield some insights for the discussion on which activities belong to a firm's core competencies. Furthermore, we show that if specialization is contractible, underspecialization will deliberately be chosen since investment incentives are thereby improved.

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Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Discussion Paper Serie A with number 602.

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Date of creation: Jul 1999
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Handle: RePEc:bon:bonsfa:602
Contact details of provider: Postal: Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Fax: +49 228 73 6884
Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de

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  1. Chiu, Y Stephen, 1998. "Noncooperative Bargaining, Hostages, and Optimal Asset Ownership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 882-901, September.
  2. Donald B. Hausch & Yeon-Koo Che, 1999. "Cooperative Investments and the Value of Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 125-147, March.
  3. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Foundations of incomplete contracts," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19354, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 1777, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Williams, I., 1996. "Integration and investment specificity," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9614, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  6. Rosenkranz, Stephanie & Schmitz, Patrick W., 1999. "Know-how disclosure and incomplete contracts," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 181-185, May.
  7. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "Two Remarks on the Property-Rights Literature," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 139-49, January.
  8. 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.
  9. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 70, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Rotemberg, Julio J & Saloner, Garth, 1994. "Benefits of Narrow Business Strategies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1330-49, December.
  11. Holmstrom, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1991. "Transfer Pricing and Organizational Form," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 201-28, Fall.
  12. Yang, Xiaokai & Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1995. "Theory of the firm and structure of residual rights," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 107-128, January.
  13. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114, January.
  14. Moore, John, 1992. "The firm as a collection of assets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 493-507, April.
  15. Kirk Monteverde & David J. Teece, 1982. "Supplier Switching Costs and Vertical Integration in the Automobile Industry," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 206-213, Spring.
  16. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
  17. Moore, John & Repullo, Rafael, 1988. "Subgame Perfect Implementation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1191-1220, September.
  18. Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
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