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Determinants of organizational form: Transaction costs and institutions in the European trucking industry

We explain why European trucking carriers are much smaller and rely more heavily on owner-operators (as opposed to employee drivers) than their US counterparts. Our analysis begins by ruling out differences in technology as the source of those disparities and confirms that standard hypotheses in organizational economics, which have been shown to explain the choice of organizational form in US industry, also apply in Europe. We then argue that the preference for subcontracting over vertical integration in Europe is the result of European institutions—particularly, labor regulation and tax laws—that increase the costs of vertical integration.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 767.

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Date of creation: Jun 2004
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:767
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  1. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-91, September.
  2. 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.
  3. Thomas N. Hubbard, 2000. "The Demand For Monitoring Technologies: The Case Of Trucking," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 533-560, May.
  4. Blau, David M, 1987. "A Time-Series Analysis of Self-employment in the United State," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 445-67, June.
  5. 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.
  6. Pissarides, Christopher A. & Weber, Guglielmo, 1989. "An expenditure-based estimate of Britain's black economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 17-32, June.
  7. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Hammour, Mohamad L., 1998. "Jobless growth: appropriability, factor substitution, and unemployment," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 51-94, June.
  8. 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.
  9. George P. Baker & Thomas N. Hubbard, 2003. "Make Versus Buy in Trucking: Asset Ownership, Job Design, and Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 551-572, June.
  10. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
  11. Francine Lafontaine & Joanne E. Oxley, 2004. "International Franchising Practices in Mexico: Do Franchisors Customize Their Contracts?," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 95-123, 03.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Francine Lafontaine & Scott E. Masten, 2002. "Contracting in the Absence of Specific Investments and Moral Hazard: Understanding Carrier-Driver Relations in U.S. Trucking," NBER Working Papers 8859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
  16. Bronars, Stephen G & Deere, Donald R, 1993. "Unionization, Incomplete Contracting, and Capital Investment," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66(1), pages 117-32, January.
  17. 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.
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