Economics at your fingertips  

Completing contracts ex post: How car manufacturers manage car dealers

Benito Arruñada (), Luis Garicano () and Luis Vázquez

Economics Working Papers from Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Abstract: This article illustrates how contracts are completed ex post in practice and, in so doing, indirectly suggests what the real function of contracts may be. Our evidence comes from the contracts between automobile manufacturers and their dealers in 23 dealership networks in Spain. Franchising dominates automobile distribution because of the need to decentralize pricing and control of service decisions. It motivates local managers to undertake these activities at minimum cost for the manufacturer. However, it creates incentive conflicts, both between manufacturers and dealers and among dealers themselves, concerning the level of sales and service provided. It also holds potential for expropriation of specific investments. Contracts deal with these conflicts by restricting dealers’ decision rights and granting manufacturers extensive completion, monitoring and enforcement powers. The main mechanism that may prevent abuse of these powers is the manufacturers’ reputational capital.

Keywords: Franchising; incomplete contracts; self-enforcement; automobile (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: K12 L14 L22 L62 L81 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1998-09, Revised 2004-07
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) Whole Paper (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: Completing Contracts Ex Post: How Car Manufacturers Manage Car Dealers (2005) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Economics Working Papers from Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ( this e-mail address is bad, please contact ).

Page updated 2022-10-05
Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:267