Saturday, September 27, 2008

Still on GM and Fisher???

Organizations and Markets just has another post (see the first one here) on yet another round of debate over the acquisition of Fisher Body by General Motors. It's a classic case, particularly in the analysis of vertical integration when parties face high asset specificity.

The new issue of Industrial and Corporate Change has two more papers, “Lawyers Asleep at the Wheel? The GM–Fisher Body Contract” by Victor Goldberg and “The Enforceability of the GM–Fisher Body Contract: Comment on Goldberg” by Ben Klein. Apparently, the debate will still go on.

I think this case and the idea of asset specificity have already become a standard in Transaction Cost Economics and even in the recent advancement of Incomplete Contract Framework. When I ask him to make some comments on these recent debates, Harvard Prof. Oliver Hart just replied, "I wish that we could get beyond this case! Relationship specific investments have got to be an important factor in determining the costs and benefits of vertical integration, even though there may be many others!"

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