Francine Lafontaine and Joanne E. Oxley
The contracting practices of franchisors outside their domestic market have received little attention in the empirical literature on franchising to date, largely because of lack of data. We exploit a novel data set that allows us to describe the contracts offered by a number of US and Canadian franchisors operating in Mexico and also compare them to contracts employed at home. Our analyses reveal a series of stylized facts that we hope will prove useful in guiding future empirical and theoretical research on contracting and especially on cross-border contracting practices. These are as follows: (1) The overwhelming majority of franchisors seeking franchisees in Mexico offer exactly the same contract to potential Mexican franchisees as that employed in the home market; (2) Among those franchisors that already have established outlets in Mexico, nearly half use the exact same fees in Mexico and at home; (3) The majority of those franchisors that make changes only alter the fixed fee component of the contract; (4) There is no evidence that franchisors use franchising more or less in Mexico compared to home as an alternative to royalty rate customization—in fact, the extent of franchising (versus company-owned units) of these firms in Mexico is not different systematically from that observed in their domestic market or worldwide; and (5) There is no evidence of increased customization over time—if anything, the evidence suggests increased similarities in contracting practices over time.