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Contracts and the Division of Labor

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  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Pol Antras
  • Elhanan Helpman

Abstract

We present a tractable framework for the analysis of the relationship between contract incom- pleteness, technological complementarities and the division of labor. In the model economy, a firm decides the division of labor and contracts with its worker-suppliers on a subset of activities they have to perform. Worker-suppliers choose their investment levels in the remaining activities anticipating the ex post bargaining equilibrium. We show that greater contract incompleteness reduces both the division of labor and the equilibrium level of productivity given the division of labor. The impact of contract incompleteness is greater when the tasks performed by di¤erent workers are more complementary. We also discuss the e¤ect of imperfect credit markets on the division of labor and productivity, and study the choice between the employment relationship versus an organizational form relying on outside contracting. Finally, we derive the implications of our framework for productivity di¤erences and comparative advantage across countries.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 2074.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:2074

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References

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  1. Nathan Nunn, 2005. "Relationship Specificity, Incomplete Contracts and the Pattern of Trade," International Trade 0512018, EconWPA.
  2. Martin J. Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 1994. "A Course in Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650401.
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  4. Pol Antras, 2004. "Incomplete Contracts and the Product Cycle," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 62, Econometric Society.
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  8. Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2008. "Competing for Ownership," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(6), pages 1279-1308, December.
  9. Antràs, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2004. "Global Sourcing," CEPR Discussion Papers 4170, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Andrei A. Levchenko, 2004. "Institutional Quality and International Trade," IMF Working Papers 04/231, International Monetary Fund.
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  15. Peter Klenow & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 1997. "The Neoclassical Revival in Growth Economics: Has It Gone Too Far?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1997, Volume 12, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  18. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
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  20. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114, January.
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  22. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Organizational Design and Technology Choice under Intrafirm Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 195-222, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Raouf BOUCEKKINE & Patricia, CRIFO & Claudio, MATTALIA, 2007. "Technological Progress, Organizational Change and the Size of the Human Resources Departement," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2007047, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
  2. Benjamin Bental & Dominique Demougin, 2006. "Institutions, Bargaining Power and Labor Shares," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2006-009, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  3. Macchiavello, Rocco, 2007. "Financial Constraints and the Costs and Benefits of Vertical Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 6104, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. repec:iab:iabzaf:v:38:i:2/3:p:325-340 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "Relationship-Specificity, Incomplete Contracts, and the Pattern of Trade," Scholarly Articles 4686801, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Pfeiffer, Friedhelm, 2005. "Existenzgründungen: Ein Weg zur Beschäftigungsförderung?," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-71, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  7. Dalia Marin, 2006. "A New International Division of Labor in Europe: Outsourcing and Offshoring to Eastern Europe," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 612-622, 04-05.
  8. William Hawkins & Daron Acemoglu, 2010. "Equilibrium Unemployment in a Generalized Search Model," 2010 Meeting Papers 1040, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Acemoglu, Daron & Antras, Pol & Helpman, Elhanan, 2007. "Contracts and Technology Adoption," Scholarly Articles 3199063, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Pfeiffer, Friedhelm, 2005. "Existenzgründungen: Ein Weg zur Beschäftigungsförderung? (Firm foundation * a way to enhance employment?)," Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung - Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 38(2/3), pages 325-340.
  11. Marin, Dalia, 2005. "A New International Division of Labor in Europe: Offshoring and Outsourcing to Eastern Europe," Discussion Papers in Economics 714, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. Bental, Benjamin & Demougin, Dominique, 2010. "Declining labor shares and bargaining power: An institutional explanation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 443-456, March.

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