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Causes of subcontracting: Evidence from panel data on construction firms

This paper examines factors explaining subcontracting decisions in the construction industry. Rather than the more common cross-sectional analyses, we use panel data to evaluate the influence of all relevant variables. We design and use a new index of the closeness to small numbers situations to estimate the extent of hold-up problems. Results show that as specificity grows, firms tend to subcontract less. The opposite happens when output heterogeneity and the use of intangible assets and capabilities increase. Neither temporary shortage of capacity nor geographical dispersion of activities seem to affect the extent of subcontracting. Finally, proxies for uncertainty do not show any clear effect.

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File URL: http://www.econ.upf.edu/docs/papers/downloads/428.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 428.

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Date of creation: Nov 1999
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:428
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. 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.
  2. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Masten, Scott E & Snyder, Edward A, 1993. "United States versus United Shoe Machinery Corporation: On the Merits," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 33-70, April.
  4. Francine Lafontaine, 1992. "Agency Theory and Franchising: Some Empirical Results," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(2), pages 263-283, Summer.
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  6. Rubin, Paul H, 1978. "The Theory of the Firm and the Structure of the Franchise Contract," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 223-33, April.
  7. Lafontaine, Francine, 1993. "Contractual Arrangements as Signaling Devices: Evidence from Franchising," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 256-89, October.
  8. Brickley, James A. & Dark, Frederick H., 1987. "The choice of organizational form The case of franchising," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 401-420, June.
  9. Erin Anderson & David C. Schmittlein, 1984. "Integration of the Sales Force: An Empirical Examination," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 385-395, Autumn.
  10. Lieberman, Marvin B, 1991. "Determinants of Vertical Integration: An Empirical Test," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(5), pages 451-66, September.
  11. 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.
  12. Masten, Scott E, 1984. "The Organization of Production: Evidence from the Aerospace Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 403-17, October.
  13. Shelanski, Howard A & Klein, Peter G, 1995. "Empirical Research in Transaction Cost Economics: A Review and Assessment," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 335-61, October.
  14. Klein, Benjamin & Murphy, Kevin M, 1997. "Vertical Integration as a Self-Enforcing Contractual Arrangement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 415-20, May.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Francine Lafontaine & Kathryn L. Shaw, 1996. "The Dynamics of Franchise Contracting: Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 5585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Gonzalez, Manuel & Arrunada, Benito & Fernandez, Alberto, 1998. "Regulation as a cause of firm fragmentation:the case of the Spanish construction industry," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 433-450, December.
  19. Masten, Scott E. & Meehan, James Jr. & Snyder, Edward A., 1989. "Vertical integration in the U.S. auto industry : A note on the influence of transaction specific assets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 265-273, October.
  20. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-382837 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Manuel González & Benito Arruñada & Alberto Fernández, 1997. "La decisión de subcontratar: el caso de las empresas constructoras," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 21(3), pages 501-521, September.
  22. Levy, David T, 1985. "The Transactions Cost Approach to Vertical Integration: An Empirical Examination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 438-45, August.
  23. Eccles, Robert G., 1981. "The quasifirm in the construction industry," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 335-357, December.
  24. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
  25. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-61, October.
  26. Erin Anderson, 1985. "The Salesperson as Outside Agent or Employee: A Transaction Cost Analysis," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 4(3), pages 234-254.
  27. 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.
  28. Caves, Richard E. & Bradburd, Ralph M., 1988. "The empirical determinants of vertical integration," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 265-279, April.
  29. 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.
  30. Williamson, Oliver E, 1971. "The Vertical Integration of Production: Market Failure Considerations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 112-23, May.
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