Benito Arruñada - Universitat Pompeu Fabra
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Causes of Subcontracting: Evidence from Panel Data on Construction Firms

González-Díaz, Manuel, Benito Arruñada and Alberto Fernández (2000), “Causes of Subcontracting: Evidence from Panel Data on Construction Firms,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 42(2), 167-87.
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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.