The make-or-buy decision is analyzed in a three-layer principal-management-agent model. There is a cost-saving/quality tradeoff in effort provision. The principal chooses between employing an in-house management and contracting with an independent management; the cost-saving incentives facing the management are, endogenously, weaker in the former case. Cost-saving incentives trickle down to the agent, affecting the cost-saving/quality trade-off. It is shown that weak cost-saving incentives to the management promote quality provision by the agent, and that a more severe quality-control problem between the principal and the management, as well as a higher valuation of quality, make an in-house management more attractive.
Make-or-buy decision Multitask principal-agent problem Outsourcing