Idiosyncratic Investments, Outside Opportunities and the Boundaries of the Firm
This paper adopts the incomplete contracting perspective to study a firm’s continuous choice between producing an essential input in-house (full integration), contracting part of the production out (tapered integration), and contracting all of the production out (non-integration), when (i) an idiosyncratic capacity investment is required to produce the essential input and (ii) under non-integration, outside opportunities are better. We show that the firm’s boundary choice depends crucially on its commitment power. If the firm can pre-commit to a particular provision mode, tapered integration will be chosen more frequently. Also, with commitment power the firm will never subcontract only a small portion of its input needs. In-house capacity is in general smaller and outside capacity larger if the firm can pre-commit. Total capacity is never larger in the commitment than the non-commitment case.
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References listed on IDEAS
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- Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985.
"The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
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- 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.
- Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990.
"Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm,"
3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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