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Ownership, Control, and Incentive

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  • Tianxi Wang

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Abstract

The paper shows that the principal can enhance her control over the agent's human capital by acquiring the physical capital that is critical for him to create value. However, the enhancement in the control necessarily reduces his incentive to make human capital investment ex ante and to exert e�ort ex post. This trade-off between control and incentive thus decides the boundary of the firm. The paper also presents a rationale for M-form firms: centralized ownership of physical capital to facilitate coordination, and dispersed payoff rights to incentivize divisions.

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Paper provided by University of Essex, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 676.

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Date of creation: 03 Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:esx:essedp:676

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  1. Susan Athey & John Roberts, 2001. "Organizational Design: Decision Rights and Incentive Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 200-205, May.
  2. Lafontaine, Francine & Slade, Margaret E, 1997. "Retail Contracting: Theory and Practice," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 1-25, March.
  3. Dessein, Wouter & Garicano, Luis & Gertner, Robert, 2007. "Organizing for Synergies," CEPR Discussion Papers 6019, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Yingyi Qian & Gerard Roland & Chenggang Xu, 2006. "Coordination and Experimentation in M-Form and U-Form Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 366-402, April.
  5. Maskin, Eric & Qian, Yingyi & Xu, Chenggang, 2000. "Incentives, Information, and Organizational Form," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(2), pages 359-78, April.
  6. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 2005. "Contract Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262025760, December.
  7. Francine Lafontaine & Kathryn L. Shaw, 2005. "Targeting Managerial Control: Evidence from Franchising," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(1), pages 131-150, Spring.
  8. Francine Lafontaine, 1995. "Pricing Decisions in Franchised Chains: A Look at the Restaurant and Fast-Food Industry," NBER Working Papers 5247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Eric Van den Steen, 2010. "Interpersonal Authority in a Theory of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 466-90, March.
  10. Casadesus-Masanell, Ramon & Spulber, Daniel F, 2000. "The Fable of Fisher Body," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 67-104, April.
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