Franchise Theory

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In service based industries one of the fastest growing forms of market structure is that of franchise agreements. Certain aspects of franchise contracts tend to be idiosyncratic in nature thereby attracting a great deal of interest by academics and business analysts in recent years. Various explanations have been proposed for the widespread use of franchise contracts in certain industries. While a great deal of the franchise contract has been explained in the literature, there remains certain aspects of this form of arrangement that has yet to be addressed. This paper intends to address two of these issues as well as proposing an alternative modelling approach to franchise contracts.

The second section of this paper describes the basic structure of franchise con- tracts. The third section discusses the various explanations that have been proposed to explain franchising. The fourth section sets two aspects of the franchise contract that has not been addressed in the literature. The Örst of these is existence of both corporate owned outlets and franchised outlets within the same organization. Some authors have predicted that one form or the other would come to dominate the or- ganization. Others have tried to explain under which conditions one form would be preferred by the parent company (or Franchisor). Yet many organizations exist as a mixture of both types of contracts and have chosen both forms of contract when expanding the number of outlets. The second unexplained observation is apparent rigidity in various organizationsífranchise fee structure; both over time and between individual franchisees. This section introduces spatial or geographical considerations to the problem of franchising. When placed in a spatial context a testable hypothesis is proposed in which both of the issues identiÖed can be explained. 2

A basic result derived in modern property rights literature is that...
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