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Ex Post and Ex Ante Coordination: Principles of Coherence in Organizations and Markets


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  • David Cayla

    (ATOM - Analyse Théorique des Organisations et des Marchés - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne)


In the traditional trade-off between internalization and externalization, economists tend to undervalue the role of intentionality (Williamson 1991) and to accord a dominant place to market coordinating devices (ex post coordination) compared to hierarchical coordinating devices (ex ante coordination). The aim of this paper is to show how the introduction of the concept of coherence, which is frequently invoked by economists in order to apprehend the firm specificities (Holmstrom 1999), may help to revaluate the trade-off between markets and firms in the advantage of the later. In particular, it will be shown that the attributes of coherence in ex post coordinating devices are fundamentally different from the ones that can be found in ex ante coordination systems.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) with number halshs-00110810.

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Date of creation: Jun 2006
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Publication status: Published, Journal of Economic Issues, 2006, 40, 2, 325-332
Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00110810

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Related research

Keywords: coherence; ex post coordination; ex ante coordination; order; rules; abstract rules; concrete rules; Hayek; Bateson;


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  1. 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.
  2. Richard N. Langlois, 1994. "Do Firms Plan?," Industrial Organization, EconWPA 9406002, EconWPA.
  3. Olivier Favereau, 1989. "Marchés internes, marchés externes," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 40(2), pages 273-328.
  4. Patrick Cohendet & Patrick Llerena, 2003. "Routines and incentives: the role of communities in the firm," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 271-297, April.
  5. Williamson, Oliver E, 1991. "Economic Institutions: Spontaneous and Intentional Governance," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 159-87, Special I.
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Cited by:
  1. Wolfram Elsner, 2007. "Why Meso? On “Aggregation” and “Emergence”, and Why and How the Meso Level is Essential in Social Economics," Forum for Social Economics, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 1-16, April.


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