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The Boundaries of the Firm Revisited

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  • Bengt Holmstrom
  • John Roberts

Abstract

Both transaction cost-economics and property-rights theories offer explanations of the boundaries of the firm based on ideas of ex post bargaining and holdup. These theories are quite distinct in their empirical predictions, but neither offers a satisfactory account of a large variety of observed practices. The authors discuss a number of such examples, where the boundaries of the firm seem to be determined by factors other than the need to protect investments, and where other mechanisms than the allocation of asset ownership are used to provide investment incentives. These examples indicate the need to enrich their theory of firm boundaries.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.12.4.73
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 12 (1998)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 73-94

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:12:y:1998:i:4:p:73-94

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.4.73
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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Scholarly Articles 4554125, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. David S. Scharfstein, 1998. "The Dark Side of Internal Capital Markets II: Evidence from Diversified Conglomerates," NBER Working Papers 6352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Taylor, Curtis R & Wiggins, Steven N, 1997. "Competition or Compensation: Supplier Incentives under the American and Japanese Subcontracting Systems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 598-618, September.
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  12. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
  13. Holmstrom, Bengt & Tirole, Jean, 1991. "Transfer Pricing and Organizational Form," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 201-28, Fall.
  14. Maness, Robert, 1996. "Incomplete contracts and the choice between vertical integration and franchising," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 101-115, October.
  15. Hyun-Han Shin & René M. Stulz, 1998. "Are Internal Capital Markets Efficient?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 531-552, May.
  16. Teece, David J. & Rumelt, Richard & Dosi, Giovanni & Winter, Sidney, 1994. "Understanding corporate coherence : Theory and evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 1-30, January.
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  18. David De Meza & Ben Lockwood, 1998. "Does Asset Ownership Always Motivate Managers? Outside Options And The Property Rights Theory Of The Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 361-386, May.
  19. Lutz, Nancy A., 1995. "Ownership rights and incentives in franchising," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 2(1-2), pages 103-131, October.
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  22. repec:cep:stitep:289 is not listed on IDEAS
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