Transactional Governance Structures: New Cross-Country Data and an Application to the Effect of Uncertainty

Produced by: 
The World Bank
Available from: 
July 2022
Paper author(s): 
David C. Francis
Nona Karalashvili
Peter Murrell
Politics and Economy

To what extent are personal trust, mutual interests, and third parties important in enforcing agreements to trade How do firms combine these to form transactional governance structures This paper answers these questions in a whole-economy, cross-country setting that considers a full spectrum of transactional-governance strategies. The data collection requires a new survey question answerable in any context. The question is applied in six South American countries using representative samples, with the resultant survey weights facilitating a whole-economy analysis. Without imposing an a priori model, latent class analysis estimates meaningful governance structures. Bilateralism is always used. Law is never used alone. Bilateralism and formal institutions are rarely substitutes. Within country, inter-regional variation in governance is greater than inter-country variation. The usefulness of the data is shown by testing one element of Williamson's discriminating-alignment agenda: greater uncertainty in the transactional environment increases the involvement of third parties.


Research section: 
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