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American Economic Review: Vol. 93 No. 3 (June 2003)

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Make Versus Buy in Trucking: Asset Ownership, Job Design, and Information

Article Citation

Baker, George P., and Thomas N. Hubbard. 2003. "Make Versus Buy in Trucking: Asset Ownership, Job Design, and Information ." American Economic Review, 93(3): 551-572.

DOI: 10.1257/000282803322156981

Abstract

Explaining patterns of asset ownership is a central goal of both organizational economics and industrial organization. We develop a model of asset ownership in trucking, which we test by examining how the adoption of different classes of on-board computers (OBCs) between 1987 and 1997 influenced whether shippers use their own trucks for hauls or contract with for-hire carriers. We find that OBCs' incentive-improving features pushed hauls toward private carriage, but their resource-allocation-improving features pushed them toward for-hire carriage. We conclude that ownership patterns in trucking reflect the importance of both incomplete contracts and of job design and measurement issues.

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Authors

Baker, George P.
Hubbard, Thomas N.


American Economic Review


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