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postgraduate thesis: The transaction costs and the choice of contractual arrangements in the construction industry in Hong Kong

TitleThe transaction costs and the choice of contractual arrangements in the construction industry in Hong Kong
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Chau, KWLai, LWC
Issue Date2010
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Chan, K. [陳喬威]. (2010). The transaction costs and the choice of contractual arrangements in the construction industry in Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4728004
AbstractThis thesis follows a neo-institutional economics approach to analyse the economic nature of contractual arrangements in the Hong Kong construction industry. It explains that subcontracting can reduce transaction costs: (1) using piece-rate contracts to replace time-wage contracts to save the high costs of monitoring; and (2) using subcontractors as intermediaries to perform tasks at a lower transaction cost due to their comparative advantages in gathering price information, specific knowledge and resources. The above assertions are evaluated in terms of three refutable hypotheses using statistics published by the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong SAR Government. Hypothesis I: To be employed with short term contracts is not preferred by the construction workers than to be employed with long term contracts; Hypothesis II: A subcontractor is not more commonly used in construction works of higher values than in those of lower values; Hypothesis III: A subcontractor is not more commonly used in construction works by ordinary trades than in those by special trades. In Table 1 summarizes the test results for each hypothesis and states their wider theoretical implications. The three hypotheses are all refuted. The message is that subcontracting is neither an inefficient contractual arrangement nor a means of exploitation by the upstream contractors. It is rather the result of the free choice of the contracting parties, as a matter of constrained maximization in a private property rights system, seeking to reduce transaction costs. Table 1. Summary of Tests Results for Hypotheses I, II and III Hypotheses Regarding Subcontracting in the Hong Kong Construction Industry Test Results Theoretical Implications Hypothesis I To be employed with short term contracts is not preferred by the construction workers than to be employed with long term contracts. Hypothesis refuted. The construction workers prefer being employed with piece-rate contracts or casual daily wage contracts. Hypothesis II A subcontractor is not more commonly used in construction works of higher values than in those of lower values. Hypothesis refuted. A subcontractor is more commonly used in construction works of higher values and by ordinary trades. Subcontracting is not a matter of random choice but for reducing transaction costs. Subcontracting decision would depend on the characteristics of the construction works. Hypothesis III A subcontractor is not more commonly used in construction works by ordinary trades than in those by special trades. Hypothesis refuted. A subcontractor is more commonly used in construction works of higher values and by ordinary trades. Subcontracting is not a matter of random choice but for reducing transaction costs. Subcontracting decision would depend on the characteristics of the construction works.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectConstruction contracts - China - Hong Kong - Economic aspects.
Transaction costs.
Dept/ProgramReal Estate and Construction

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorChau, KW-
dc.contributor.advisorLai, LWC-
dc.contributor.authorChan, Kiu-wai.-
dc.contributor.author陳喬威.-
dc.date.issued2010-
dc.identifier.citationChan, K. [陳喬威]. (2010). The transaction costs and the choice of contractual arrangements in the construction industry in Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4728004-
dc.description.abstractThis thesis follows a neo-institutional economics approach to analyse the economic nature of contractual arrangements in the Hong Kong construction industry. It explains that subcontracting can reduce transaction costs: (1) using piece-rate contracts to replace time-wage contracts to save the high costs of monitoring; and (2) using subcontractors as intermediaries to perform tasks at a lower transaction cost due to their comparative advantages in gathering price information, specific knowledge and resources. The above assertions are evaluated in terms of three refutable hypotheses using statistics published by the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong SAR Government. Hypothesis I: To be employed with short term contracts is not preferred by the construction workers than to be employed with long term contracts; Hypothesis II: A subcontractor is not more commonly used in construction works of higher values than in those of lower values; Hypothesis III: A subcontractor is not more commonly used in construction works by ordinary trades than in those by special trades. In Table 1 summarizes the test results for each hypothesis and states their wider theoretical implications. The three hypotheses are all refuted. The message is that subcontracting is neither an inefficient contractual arrangement nor a means of exploitation by the upstream contractors. It is rather the result of the free choice of the contracting parties, as a matter of constrained maximization in a private property rights system, seeking to reduce transaction costs. Table 1. Summary of Tests Results for Hypotheses I, II and III Hypotheses Regarding Subcontracting in the Hong Kong Construction Industry Test Results Theoretical Implications Hypothesis I To be employed with short term contracts is not preferred by the construction workers than to be employed with long term contracts. Hypothesis refuted. The construction workers prefer being employed with piece-rate contracts or casual daily wage contracts. Hypothesis II A subcontractor is not more commonly used in construction works of higher values than in those of lower values. Hypothesis refuted. A subcontractor is more commonly used in construction works of higher values and by ordinary trades. Subcontracting is not a matter of random choice but for reducing transaction costs. Subcontracting decision would depend on the characteristics of the construction works. Hypothesis III A subcontractor is not more commonly used in construction works by ordinary trades than in those by special trades. Hypothesis refuted. A subcontractor is more commonly used in construction works of higher values and by ordinary trades. Subcontracting is not a matter of random choice but for reducing transaction costs. Subcontracting decision would depend on the characteristics of the construction works.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B47280049-
dc.subject.lcshConstruction contracts - China - Hong Kong - Economic aspects.-
dc.subject.lcshTransaction costs.-
dc.titleThe transaction costs and the choice of contractual arrangements in the construction industry in Hong Kong-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb4728004-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineReal Estate and Construction-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b4728004-
dc.date.hkucongregation2010-

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