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Governance of Adjustments

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  • Wernerfelt, Birger

Abstract

The article proposes a research program to compare game forms in terms of their ability to govern ex post adjustments to ex ante contracts. The comparisons can be based on direct implementation-costs or the extent to which desirable adjustments are not implemented. In several examples of the program, we compare three game forms: Negotiation over each adjustment, ex ante price lists, and implicit contracts leaving the stipulation of adjustments to one player. If the latter game form is defined as an employment relationship, the theory of the firm becomes a special case of the program. The article starts with a discussion of the nature and magnitude of adjustment-costs, followed by an exposition of four examples. We then discuss the role of asset ownership, review some empirical evidence, and look at broader implications.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/1836
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management in its series Working papers with number 4412-03.

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Date of creation: 14 Mar 2003
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Handle: RePEc:mit:sloanp:1836

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Postal: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, 50 MEMORIAL DRIVE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS 02142 USA
Phone: 617-253-2659
Web page: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/
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Postal: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, 50 MEMORIAL DRIVE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS 02142 USA

Related research

Keywords: Theory of the Firm; Employment Relationship; Contracts;

References

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  1. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1998. "Power In A Theory Of The Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 387-432, May.
  2. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-28, March.
  3. Geanakoplos, John & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "A theory of hierarchies based on limited managerial attention," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 205-225, September.
  4. Steven Tadelis, 2002. "Complexity, Flexibility, and the Make-or-Buy Decision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 433-437, May.
  5. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
  6. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "The Firm as a Dedicated Hierarchy: A Theory of the Origin and Growth of Firms," NBER Working Papers 7546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Patrick Bajari & Steven Tadelis, 1999. "Incentives versus Transaction Costs: A Theory of Procurement Contracts," Working Papers 99029, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  8. Myerson, Roger B. & Satterthwaite, Mark A., 1983. "Efficient mechanisms for bilateral trading," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 265-281, April.
  9. Wernerfelt, Birger, 1997. "On the Nature and Scope of the Firm: An Adjustment-Cost Theory," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70(4), pages 489-514, October.
  10. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-91, September.
  11. Steven Tadelis, 2009. "Auctions Versus Negotiations in Procurement: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 372-399, October.
  12. Francine Lafontaine & Scott E. Masten, 2002. "Contracting in the Absence of Specific Investments and Moral Hazard: Understanding Carrier-Driver Relations in U.S. Trucking," NBER Working Papers 8859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1999. "On the Design of Hierarchies: Coordination Versus Specialization," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 375, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  14. Kirk Monteverde, 1995. "Technical Dialog as an Incentive for Vertical Integration in the Semiconductor Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(10), pages 1624-1638, October.
  15. Duncan I. Simester & Birger Wernerfelt, 2005. "Determinants of Asset Ownership: A Study of the Carpentry Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 50-58, February.
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Cited by:
  1. AriƱo, Africa & Reuer, Jeffrey J., 2004. "Alliance contractual design," IESE Research Papers D/572, IESE Business School.
  2. Haizhi Wang & Robert Wuebker & Shu Han & Michael Ensley, 2012. "Strategic alliances by venture capital backed firms: an empirical examination," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 179-196, February.

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