Relational Contracting in Pakistan’s Surgical Instrument Cluster: An Empirical Study

40 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2010

Date Written: November 19, 2010


This paper tests an idea from relational contracting theory (Macaulay 1963, North 1990, Greif 1994, Kranton 1996) that informal relationships can substitute for formal contract enforcement through the judicial system, through the analysis of a survey of the surgical instrument cluster in Sialkot, Pakistan. Inter-firm trust is thought to lead to reduced transactions costs (a passive benefit of a cluster). We consider exchanges of goods between clustered suppliers and their customers, who are either members of the cluster or firms that interact frequently with it. Inter-firm trust is measured as the amount of trade credit offered to customers. The results show that suppliers are more likely to offer trade credit when they believe in the effectiveness of formal contract enforcement and when they participate in business networks (proxied by inter-firm communication). There is also some evidence that customer lock-in helps to develop inter-firm trust since firms give more credit when relationships are of longer duration, since locked-in customers are less able to find alternate suppliers.

Keywords: Relational Contracting, Law and Economics, Agglomeration, Pakistan

JEL Classification: O12, L14

Suggested Citation

Chaudhry, Theresa Thompson, Relational Contracting in Pakistan’s Surgical Instrument Cluster: An Empirical Study (November 19, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Theresa Thompson Chaudhry (Contact Author)

Lahore School of Economics ( email )

Intersection Main Boulevard
Phase VI DHA and Burki Road
Burki, Lahore 53200
011-92-42-656-0969 (Phone)


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