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Norms and the Theory of the Firm

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  • Oliver Hart

Abstract

This paper discusses some of the attempts economists have made in the last ten years or so to integrate norms into the theory of the firm. The paper argues that (a) although norms are undoubtedly very important both inside and between firms, incorporating them into the theory has been very difficult and is likely to continue to be so in the near future; (b) so far norms have not added a great deal to our understanding of such issues as the determinants of firm boundaries (the "make-or-buy" decision)--that is, at this point a norm-free theory of the firm and a norm-rich theory of the firm don’t seem to have very different predictions.

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Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1923.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1923

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References

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  1. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-38, May.
  2. Posner, Richard A, 1997. "Social Norms and the Law: An Economic Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 365-69, May.
  3. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1999. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 115-38, January.
  4. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Krishna B. Kumar & Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1999. "What Determines Firm Size?," NBER Working Papers 7208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Steve Tadelis, 1997. "What's in a Name? Reputation as a Tradeable Asset," Working Papers 97033, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  7. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 1777, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Ernst Fehr & Simon G�chter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
  9. Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
  10. George P. Baker & Thomas N. Hubbard, 2000. "Contractibility and Asset Ownership: On-Board Computers and Governance in U.S. Trucking," NBER Working Papers 7634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 70, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1993. "Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts," NBER Working Papers 4480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Tirole, J., 1993. "A Theory of Collective Reputations with Applications to the Persistence of Corruption and to Firm Quality," Working papers 93-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  14. Oliver Hart & Bengt Holmstrom, 1986. "The Theory of Contracts," Working papers 418, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  15. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1999. "The Firm as a Subeconomy," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 74-102, April.
  16. Maija Halonen, 2002. "Reputation And The Allocation Of Ownership," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(481), pages 539-558, July.
  17. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817, September.
  18. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Huck, Steffen & Kübler, Dorothea & Weibull, Jörgen W., 2010. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 5264, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Randolph Sloof & Joep Sonnemans, 2009. "The Interaction between Explicit and Relational Incentives: An Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-030/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Brown, Martin & Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst, 2002. "Contractual Incompleteness and the Nature of Market Interactions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3272, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Kaufman, Bruce E., 2003. "The organization of economic activity: insights from the institutional theory of John R. Commons," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 71-96, September.
  5. Huck, Steffen & Kübler, Dorothea & Weibull, Jörgen, 2001. "Social norms and optimal incentives in firms," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 466, Stockholm School of Economics.
  6. Paul H. Jensen & Robin E. Stonecash, 2004. "The Efficiency of Public Sector Outsourcing Contracts: A Literature Review," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2004n29, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  7. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2004. "Relative and Absolute Incentives: Evidence on Worker Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 4431, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Nicolai J. Foss & Peter G. Klein, 2005. "The Theory of the Firm and Its Critics A Stocktaking and Assessment," DRUID Working Papers 05-03, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  9. Kvaløy, Ola & Olsen, Trond E., 2008. "Relative performance evaluation, agent hold-up and firm organization," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 229-241, June.
  10. Kvaløy, Ola, 2008. "Do norms matter for firm boundaries?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 969-975, June.
  11. Oliver Gürtler, 2008. "Implicit contracting with a (potentially) reliable agent," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 94(2), pages 177-189, July.
  12. Dragone, Davide & Viviani, Michele, 2007. "Cultura Organizzativa e Sostenibilita' della Governance Multistakeholder," AICCON Working Papers 40-2007, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
  13. P. L. Sacco & M. Viviani, 2006. "La responsabilita' sociale d'Impresa - prospettive teoriche nel dibattito italiano," Working Papers 578, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  14. Sacco, Pier Luigi & Viviani, Michele, 2005. "Corporate Social Responsibility: theoretical perspectives in the Italian Debate," AICCON Working Papers 11-2005, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit, revised 03 Feb 2007.
  15. Iqbal, Zamir & Mirakhor, Abbas, 2004. "Stakeholders Model of Governance in Islamic Economic System," MPRA Paper 56027, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Kragl, Jenny & Schmid, Julia, 2009. "The impact of envy on relational employment contracts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 766-779, November.

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