IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ecm/nasm04/563.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Electronic Markets, Search Costs and Firm Boundaries

Author

Listed:
  • Ramesh Sankaranarayanan
  • Arun Sundararajan

Abstract

We study how firm boundaries are affected by the reduction in search costs when business-to-business electronic markets are adopted. Our paper analyzes a multi-tier industry in which upstream parts suppliers incur procurement search costs, and downstream manufacturers incur incentive contracting costs with these parts suppliers. We develop a model that integrates search theory into the hidden-action principal-agent model and characterize the optimal contract, showing that the delegation of search results in an outcome analogous to an effective increase in the search cost of the intermediary, reflected in the magnitude of the cutoff price in the second-best stopping rule. This contract is used to specify the manufacturer's make versus buy decision, and to analyze how the technological changes associated with electronic markets affect vertical organizational scope. Our main results show that when search is information-intensive, electronic markets will result in constant decreases in search costs that reduce the vertical scope of organizations. In contrast, when search is communication-intensive, electronic markets will result in proportionate reductions in search costs that lead to an increase in vertical integration; the latter outcome also occurs if search costs converge. We also discuss the implications of our results for the general problem of designing contracts that optimally delegate costly search to an intermediary

Suggested Citation

  • Ramesh Sankaranarayanan & Arun Sundararajan, 2004. "Electronic Markets, Search Costs and Firm Boundaries," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 563, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:nasm04:563
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://repec.org/esNASM04/up.1364.1075598262.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Zand, Fardad & Van Beers, Cees & Van Leeuwen, George, 2011. "Information technology, organizational change and firm productivity: A panel study of complementarity effects and clustering patterns in Manufacturing and Services," MPRA Paper 46469, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    firm boundaries; vertical integration; search; moral hazard; incentives; principal-agent; electronic markets; B2B markets.;

    JEL classification:

    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecm:nasm04:563. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/essssea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.