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  • 1.
    Lind, Hans
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Building and Real Estate Economics.
    Nyström, Johan
    Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute.
    The Explanation of Incomplete Contracts in Mainstream Contract Theory: A Critique of the Distinction between “Observable” and “Verifiable”2011In: Evolutionary and Institutional Economics Review, ISSN 1349-4961, Vol. 7, no 2, p. 279-293Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Mainstream contract theory often makes a distinction between things that are observable by the contracting parties but not verifiable by a third party. This distinction has, e.g. been used to explain why contracts are incomplete in some dimensions and claimed to provide the foundations of incomplete contract theory. This article sets out to scrutinize the assumption and argues that if something is observable by the parties, the parties can ex ante, without prohibitive costs, make these features verifiable by a third party. This implies that the distinction between observable and verifiable cannot be a fundamental explanation for incomplete contracts. Ex post it can be difficult to verify statements by a third party, but then it must be explained why the parties had not ex ante taken measures to make it possible to verify ex post. A number of such explanations are discussed in the paper. The arguments put forward are based on two detailed examples and also supported by important theories from the philosophy of language, which underline that concepts must be related to something observable in order to be learnt.

  • 2.
    Mandell, Svante
    et al.
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Building and Real Estate Economics.
    Nyström, Johan
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Building and Real Estate Economics.
    Too much balance in unbalanced bidding2013In: Studies in Microeconomics, ISSN 2321-0222, Vol. 1, p. 23-35Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article adds to the theoretical base of unbalanced bidding in auction theory. The importance of this concept is justified by being a decisive feature in the make-or-buy decision of a client who cannot rely on repeated interaction, often the case in public procurement, for example. Earlier theoretical models on unbalanced bidding often predict corner solutions, that is, zero bids for unit prices of expected overestimated quantities. However, anecdotal evidence indicates a lack of zero bids in the actual contracts. The article offers a possible explanation for this anomaly by focusing on the risk-aversion of the contractor. Using a simple model, it shows that a contractor with superior information may exploit this in the bidding process to increase her expected revenue. This increases risk exposure. A risk-averse contractor will typically avoid a corner solution to reach an optimal balance between risk and expected return.

  • 3.
    Nyström, Johan
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Building and Real Estate Economics.
    558 site-meeting minutes from 20 comparable projects - A quasi-experimental evaluation of partnering2007In: CME 2007 Conference - Construction Management and Economics: 'Past, Present and Future', 2007, p. 1193-1202Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    558 site-meeting minutes from 20 publicly procured projects have been analysed to extract differences between partnering and non-partnering projects concerning cost and quality, where time delays, the amount of disputes, financial outcome and contract flexibility have been used as indicators. In order to find the unique effect of partnering and control for other affecting variables, a quasi-experimental evaluation has been carried out. This approach strives to match partnering projects with identical non-partnering projects on every relevant variable except partnering. By trying to provide more tangible data and an improved structure, this study can be seen as reaction to the criticisms of earlier empirical evaluations. The paper has pushed the frontier for partnering evaluations forward concerning method and data. No systematic or general trends can be seen in the material. The result casts a shadow over the positive results from earlier evaluations and suggests that the main contribution of partnering might lie in its intangible effects. Partnering can be seen as something that is intended to improve the general perception of a construction industry, a declaration of a will to change.

  • 4.
    Nyström, Johan
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Building and Real Estate Economics.
    A quasi-experimental evaluation of partnering2008In: Construction Management and Economics, ISSN 0144-6193, E-ISSN 1466-433X, Vol. 26, no 5, p. 531-541Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Construction managerial literature often argues that there are gains to be made by using partnering. Voices have however been raised to approach partnering in a more neutral perspective and with well-founded methods of evaluation. This study can be seen as an outcome of the criticisms against earlier empirical evaluations by setting out to provide more tangible data and an improved method for evaluating partnering. A quasi-experimental method has been adopted in order to control for other affecting variables and find the unique effect of partnering. This approach strives to match partnering projects with identical non-partnering projects on every relevant variable except partnering. Six hundred and twenty three site meeting minutes from 20 publicly procured projects have been analysed to extract differences between partnering and non-partnering projects concerning cost and quality. Time delays, the amount of disputes, financial outcome and contract flexibility have been used as indicators. The paper has made a first attempt in trying to push the frontier for partnering evaluations forward by providing a new type of data (site meeting minutes) and applying a well-reputed evaluation method (quasi-experiment). The main result is that no systematic or general trends can be seen in the material. This result casts a shadow over the optimistic results from earlier evaluations and suggests that the main contribution of partnering might lie in its intangible effects.

  • 5.
    Nyström, Johan
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Building and Real Estate Economics.
    Partnering: definition, theory and evaluation2007Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other scientific)
    Abstract [en]

    The concept of partnering in the construction industry stands for a collaborative way of working. Examples of partnering projects can be found on every continent. As suggested in the title this thesis makes contributions to three areas of partnering research: the definition of partnering, the theory behind partnering and how to evaluate the effects of the concept.

    The thesis consists of six papers with the following main results. A new definition of the concept is provided with the partnering flower in the first paper. This definition model is a concrete, flexible and structured way to define partnering. It forces people to concretise and pinpoint which components they include in partnering in a specific setting. The second paper uses contract theory to understand how partnering can be justified from an efficiency perspective. Partnering can either be seen as something that neutralises opportunism when there is an incomplete contract or something that reduces transaction costs for renegotiation of complete contracts when new information arises. Paper 3 is an empirical study of attitudes towards partnering in the Swedish construction industry, which complements the preceding studies. Among the results can be mentioned that support for the definition of partnering presented in paper 1 is found and that most respondents do not see partnering just as a new fad - a result that is consistent from 2004 to 2006. With the theory and the definition settled, it remains to evaluate the effects of partnering. This is done in two steps. The first step (in paper 4) is through reviewing earlier evaluations and providing suggestions on how the assessments can be improved. One of these suggestions is applied in paper 5, with a quasi-experimental evaluation of partnering comparing ten partnering projects to ten similar non-partnering projects. With improved data, mainly based on site meeting minutes, and a more well-founded method, no support can be found for the strong positive outcome of partnering reported in earlier evaluations. The final paper makes a contribution to economic contract theory by questioning one of the essential assumptions in this literature, the distinction between observable and verifiable characteristics. This aspect surfaced during the study of partnering contracts and contract theory.

  • 6.
    Nyström, Johan
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Building and Real Estate Economics.
    Partnering: definition, theory and the procurement phase2005Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
  • 7.
    Nyström, Johan
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Building and Real Estate Economics.
    Partnering in a (more) complete contract settingManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Partnering is often, by economists, and in construction managerial literature related to moreincomplete contracts. This can be explained by seeing partnering as something that neutralizesopportunism. The first contribution in this paper is to question this view, by identifying thatthe introduction of partnering does not necessarily entail more incomplete contracts. Thisempirical observation can be explained by the advantages of competitive tendering andfurther motivated by the requirement from the public procurement law. The secondcontribution is to motivate partnering in this more complete contract setting, which is donethrough road maintenance examples. Partnering is seen as a way to facilitate the reaching ofmore pareto efficient allocations, by lowering transactions costs for renegotiations throughtrust and reciprocity. Seeing partnering as the willingness to renegotiate complete contractscan reduce the risk for the contractor and lead to lower prices for a given service.

  • 8.
    Nyström, Johan
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Centres, Centre for Transport Studies, CTS. VTI, Sweden.
    The balance of unbalanced bidding2015In: 8TH NORDIC CONFERENCE ON CONSTRUCTION ECONOMICS AND ORGANIZATION, 2015, p. 97-103Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Based on anecdotal evidence, claims are made that unbalanced bidding is a serious problem in the construction industry. This concept is based on a situation with a contractor being more informed than the client. The asymmetry in information can be used by the contactor to skew unit prices in the ex ante bid and in order to enhance the ex post profit. This is done by increasing the unit price of a quantity that is expected to go up and lower the unit price of a quantity expected to decrease. Research regarding unbalanced bidding has to a large extent focused on models to assists clients in detecting and contractors in optimising the skew. There is also theoretical literature on efficiency losses of unbalanced bidding. The latter models show that it is rational for an informed contractor to raise unit prices on relative underestimated quantities. However, empirical studies that capture the magnitude of the problem are lacking. This paper sets out to fill that void. The analysis is based on a unique dataset of 15 Swedish road investments and 2 795 observations. Data consist of ex ante unit prices and quantities that are related to the final (ex post) quantities. By looking for a positive correlation between these variables and controlling for other affecting variables, the hypothesis of unbalanced bidding can be empirically tested. Along earlier studies on US data, this paper, using more project specific control variables concluded that the effect is even smaller or non-existent.

  • 9.
    Nyström, Johan
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Building and Real Estate Economics.
    The definition of partnering as a Wittgenstein family-resemblanceconcept2005In: Construction Management and Economics, ISSN 0144-6193, E-ISSN 1466-433X, Vol. 23, no 5, p. 473-481Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article on partnering and family-resemblance makes two contributions to the debate about the definition of partnering in construction. The first is a distinction between general prerequisites , components and goals when discussing the concept. In order to understand what is specific about partnering the focus should be on the components, which are identified through a literature review. The second contribution is to apply Ludwig Wittgenstein's idea of family-resemblance to the partnering concept. His idea is that a complex concept can be understood as a network of overlapping similarities. From the literature review it is concluded that there are two necessary components in partnering -- trust and mutual understanding -- and that a number of different components can be added to form a specific variant of partnering. This provides a new method to define the vague and multifaceted concept of partnering in a flexible and structured way.

  • 10.
    Nyström, Johan
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Building and Real Estate Economics.
    The naivety of partnering assessments2006In: Assoc. Res. Constr. Manage., ARCOM - Procs Annu. ARCOM Conf., 2006, p. 435-443Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Construction managerial literature often argues that gains are to be made by using partnering in terms of reduced cost, reduced delays and/or increased quality. Voices have been raised to approach partnering in a more critical perspective i.e. to look at both advantages and disadvantages when investigating the concept. This paper is an attempt to go in that direction. In order to assess the effects of partnering in a valid way, the evaluation needs to (i) be based on project facts and not personal perceptions, (ii) make a comparative analysis including both partnering and nonpartnering projects and (iii) control for other variables that affect cost and quality in order to extract the unique effect of partnering. The existing partnering evaluations, divided into surveys, case studies and comparative studies with many observations, does not fulfil all three conditions. Instead partnering should be evaluated by a quasiexperiment or with a regression analysis and focus on quality and cost, the variables that creates value.

  • 11.
    Nyström, Johan
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Building and Real Estate Economics.
    The public procurement phase with partnering and the actors’perception of the concept – results from a questionnaireManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper has the purpose of empirically mapping out the procurement phase withpartnering and investigate how the perception of partnering depend on; age, type of projectand whether the respondent is a client or contractor. The partnering flower (Nyström 2005a)will also be tested empirically. Data were collected through a questionnaire and consists of 18Swedish partnering projects from the construction industry, procured with competitivetendering under the Public Procurement Act. Both clients and contractors from the projectsresponded, summing up to a total of 30 observations. The results show that most projects usedincentive contracts with target costs and included soft parameters in the bid evaluation.Concerning the perception of partnering, the concept seems to have most potential inachieving cost reductions. There was also a large consensus among the respondents thatpartnering did not deteriorate the businesslike relationships nor was a less fun way of workingand that the concept has a future in the construction industry. A few major differences couldbe observed within the divided groups. The clients were more sceptical seeing themselves aswinners of partnering, in comparison to the contractors perception on the same subject.Concerning partnering being a more fun way of working the respondents from maintenanceprojects were not as positive as the respondents from the other types of projects, newinvestmentand re-investment. It could also be seen that the younger respondents were morepositive than the older concerning partnering being a way to resolve conflicts and not seeingthe concept just as a fad. Support for the partnering flower could be found in the materialsince all respondents considered trust and common goals important components of partnering.

1 - 11 of 11
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