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Information Asymmetry and Dual Distribution in Franchise Networks

Information Asymmetry and Dual Distribution in Franchise Networks

Mark Wilson and Greg Shailer

We examine whether a dual distribution system that uses both franchisor-operated and franchisee-operated outlets reduces a franchisor's information disadvantage when contracting with franchisee retailers.

Using detailed qualitative and quantitative managerial data, we find persuasive evidence of the strategic use of performance information obtained from franchisor-operated outlets to reduce information asymmetry and enhance contracting efficiency for franchisee-operated outlets.

We test whether the proximity of franchisor-operated retail outlets to franchisee-operated retail outlets reduces underpricing of quasi-franchise contracts. Our results accord with the proposition that information asymmetry reduces contracting efficiency and are consistent with our prediction that a manufacturer can reduce intrinsic information asymmetry by maintaining franchisor-operated outlets that are geographically proximate to the franchisee-operated outlets, and that this improves the franchisor's pricing of franchising contracts.

We conclude that dual distribution reduces the franchisor's information asymmetry and increases their contract pricing efficiency.

Updated:   8 March 2019 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team