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Long-Term Contracts and Asset Specificity Revisited: An Empirical Analysis of Producer-Importer Relations in the Natural Gas Industry

  • Anne Neumann
  • Christian von Hirschhausen

In this paper, we analyze structural changes in long-term contracts in the international trade of natural gas. Using a unique data set of 262 long-term contracts between natural gas producers and importers, we estimate the impact of different institutional, structural and technical variables on the duration of contracts. We find that contract duration decreases as the market structure of the industry develops to more competitive regimes. Our main finding is that contracts that are linked to an asset specific investment are on average four years longer than those who are not.

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 552.

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Length: 21 p.
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp552
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  1. 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.
  2. Mulherin, J Harold, 1986. "Complexity in Long-term Contracts: An Analysis of Natural Gas Contractual Provisions," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(1), pages 105-17, Spring.
  3. Harry W. Richardson & Peter Gordon & James E. Moore II, 2005. "Introduction," Chapters, in: The Economic Impacts of Terrorist Attacks, chapter 1 Edward Elgar.
  4. Joskow, Paul L, 1988. "Asset Specificity and the Structure of Vertical Relationships: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 95-117, Spring.
  5. Leon Oerlemans & Marius Meeus, 2001. "R&D Cooperation in a Transaction Cost Perspective," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 77-90, February.
  6. Rachael E. Goodhue & Dale M. Heien & Hyunok Lee & Daniel A. Sumner, 2003. "Contracts and Quality in the California Winegrape Industry," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 23(3_4), pages 267-282, December.
  7. Hart, Oliver D & Moore, John, 1988. "Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 755-85, July.
  8. Huw Dixon & Joshy Easaw, 2001. "Strategic Responses to Regulatory Policies: What Lessons Can Be Learned from the U.K. Contract Gas Market?," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 379-396, June.
  9. Keith J. Crocker & Scott E. Masten, 1988. "Mitigating Contractual Hazards: Unilateral Options and Contract Length," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(3), pages 327-343, Autumn.
  10. Paul Joskow, 1984. "Vertical Integration and Long Term Contracts: The Case of Coal Burning Electric Generating Plants," Working papers 361, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Masten, Scott E & Crocker, Keith J, 1985. "Efficient Adaptation in Long-term Contracts: Take-or-Pay Provisions for Natural Gas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1083-93, December.
  12. Doane, Michael J & Spulber, Daniel F, 1994. "Open Access and the Evolution of the U.S. Spot Market for Natural Gas," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(2), pages 477-517, October.
  13. Masten, Scott E, 1988. "Minimum Bill Contracts: Theory and Policy," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(1), pages 85-97, September.
  14. Neumann, Anne & Siliverstovs, Boriss, 2005. "Convergence of European Spot Market Prices for Natural Gas? A Real-Time Analysis of Market Integration using the Kalman Filter," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 05/05, Dresden University of Technology, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.
  15. Scott E. Masten & Stéphane Saussier, 2000. "Econometrics of Contracts : an Assessment of Developments in the Empirical Literature on Contracting," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 92(1), pages 215-236.
  16. Dagobert L. Brito & Peter R. Hartley, 2007. "Expectations and the Evolving World Gas Market," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 1-24.
  17. Williamson, Oliver E, 1983. "Credible Commitments: Using Hostages to Support Exchange," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 519-40, September.
  18. Paul Joskow, 2005. "Regulation and Deregulation after 25 Years: Lessons Learned for Research in Industrial Organization," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 169-193, December.
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