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The (non)Theory of the Knowledge Firm

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    Abstract

    This paper argues that the mainstream approaches to the theory of the firm do not provide a theory of the human capital based or knowledge based firm. We examine the textbook (neoclassical) theory of the firm, the transaction cost model, the incentive-system approach and the Grossman Hart Moore approach to the firm and argue that none of them are able to fully capture the changes to the firm that the movement towards a knowledge economy entails. We also consider the effects of knowledge on the location of production.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.canterbury.ac.nz/RePEc/cbt/econwp/0807.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 08/07.

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    Length: 31 pages
    Date of creation: 10 Apr 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cbt:econwp:08/07

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    Keywords: Theory of the firm; Knowledge economy; Human-capital based firm;

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    1. Becker, G.S. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 92-5, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
    2. Richard N. Langlois & Nicolai J. Foss, 1997. "Capabilities and Governance the Rebirth of Production in the Theory of Economic Organization," DRUID Working Papers 97-2, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    3. Herbert A. Simon, 1991. "Organizations and Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 25-44, Spring.
    4. 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.
    5. Cyert, Richard M & Hedrick, Charles L, 1972. "Theory of the Firm: Past, Present, and Future; An Interpretation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 398-412, June.
    6. Coase, Ronald H., 1991. "The Institutional Structure of Production," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1991-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
    7. Nicolai J. Foss, 1997. "The classical theory of production and the capabilities view of the firm," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 24(5), pages 307-323, October.
    8. Demsetz, Harold, 1988. "The Theory of the Firm Revisited," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 141-61, Spring.
    9. 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.
    10. Loasby, Brian J., 1998. "The organisation of capabilities," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 139-160, April.
    11. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    12. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-91, September.
    13. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    14. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    15. Gibbons, Robert, 2005. "Four forma(lizable) theories of the firm?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 200-245, October.
    16. Matthew Rabin., 1991. "Information and the Control of Productive Assets," Economics Working Papers 91-169, University of California at Berkeley.
    17. Erik Brynjolfsson, 1994. "Information Assets, Technology and Organization," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(12), pages 1645-1662, December.
    18. Hart, Oliver D, 1988. "Incomplete Contracts and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 119-39, Spring.
    19. Ashish Arora & Andrea Fosfuri & Alfonso Gambardella, 2004. "Markets for Technology: The Economics of Innovation and Corporate Strategy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262511819, December.
    20. Richardson, G B, 1972. "The Organisation of Industry," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(327), pages 883-96, September.
    21. Moore, John, 1992. "The firm as a collection of assets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 493-507, April.
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