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Contracting in the Absence of Specific Investments and Moral Hazard: Understanding Carrier-Driver Relations in U.S. Trucking

  • Francine Lafontaine
  • Scott E. Masten

This paper considers functions of contracting other than the protection of relationship-specific investments and the provision of marginal incentives, and applies the theory to explain variation in the form of compensation of over-the-road truck drivers in the U.S. Specifically, we argue that contracts in this industry serve to economize on the costs of price determination for heterogeneous transactions. We show that the actual terms of those contracts vary systematically with the nature of hauls in a way that is consistent with the theory. By contrast, we find that vehicle ownership, which defines a driver's status as an owner operator or company driver, depends on driver, but not trailer or haul, characteristics.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8859.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8859.

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Date of creation: Mar 2002
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8859
Note: IO
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  1. Francine Lafontaine & Margaret E. Slade, 1998. "Incentive Contracting and the Franchise Decision," NBER Working Papers 6544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Canice Prendergast, 2000. "The Tenuous Tradeoff Between Risk and Incentives," NBER Working Papers 7815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Paul Oyer, 2000. "Why Do Firms Use Incentives that Have No Incentive Effects?," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1440, Econometric Society.
  4. Holtz-Eakin, D. & Joulfaian, D. & Rosen, H.S., 1992. "Entrepreneurial Decisions and Liquidity Constraints," Papers 129, Princeton, Department of Economics - Financial Research Center.
  5. Lafontaine, Francine & Bhattacharyya, Sugato, 1995. "The role of risk in franchising," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 2(1-2), pages 39-74, October.
  6. Masten, Scott E & Meehan, James W, Jr & Snyder, Edward A, 1991. "The Costs of Organization," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 1-25, Spring.
  7. Jack A. Nickerson & Brian S. Silverman, 2003. "Why aren't all Truck Drivers Owner-Operators? Asset Ownership and the Employment Relation in Interstate for-hire Trucking," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(1), pages 91-118, 03.
  8. Goldberg, Victor P & Erickson, John R, 1987. "Quantity and Price Adjustment in Long-term Contracts: A Case Study of Petroleum Coke," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 369-98, October.
  9. Hubbard, Thomas N, 2001. "Contractual Form and Market Thickness in Trucking," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(2), pages 369-86, Summer.
  10. Thomas N. Hubbard, 1999. "How Wide is the Scope of Hold-Up-Based Theories? Contractual Form and Market Thickness in Trucking," NBER Working Papers 7347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Pittman, R., 1990. "Specific Investments, Contracts, And Opportunism: The Evolution Of Railroad Sidetrack Agreements," Papers 90-6, U.S. Department of Justice - Antitrust Division.
  12. George P. Baker & Thomas N. Hubbard, 2000. "Contractibility and Asset Ownership: On-Board Computers and Governance in U.S. Trucking," NBER Working Papers 7634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Klein, Benjamin, 1988. "Vertical Integration as Organizational Ownership: The Fisher Body-General Motors Relationship Revisited," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 199-213, Spring.
  14. Klein, Benjamin, 1996. "Why Hold-Ups Occur: The Self-Enforcing Range of Contractual Relationships," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(3), pages 444-63, July.
  15. Pirrong, Stephen Craig, 1993. "Contracting Practices in Bulk Shipping Markets: A Transactions Cost Explanation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 937-76, October.
  16. Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-35, June.
  17. Joskow, Paul L, 1987. "Contract Duration and Relationship-Specific Investments: Empirical Evidence from Coal Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 168-85, March.
  18. Kenney, Roy W & Klein, Benjamin, 1983. "The Economics of Block Booking," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 497-540, October.
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