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The "Fundamental Transformation" in Macroeconomics

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  • Ricardo J. Caballero
  • Mohamad L. Hammour

Abstract

When factors enter into joint-production, they typically develop a degree of specificity with respect to each other. It is well known that, when combined with contracting difficulties, specificity gives rise to a Williamsonian 'Fundamental Transformation' from an ex-ante competitive relationship to an ex-post bilateral monopoly. The macroeconomic consequences of widespread specificity are far-reaching. Specificity results in misallocation, underutilization, and unemployment of the economy's productive factors; it hampers growth by depressing the incentives to replace what is outdated and to fully utilize the economy's resources; it disrupts macroeconomic adjustment by inducing a wedge between timid creation and excessive destruction of the old system; and it exacerbates downturns by `elastifying' the cyclical response of inelastic factors.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5471.

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Date of creation: Feb 1996
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Publication status: published as American Economic Review, papers and proceedings, 86(2) may 1996
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5471

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  1. Caballero, Ricardo J & Hammour, Mohamad L, 1994. "The Cleansing Effect of Recessions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1350-68, December.
  2. Hall, Robert E & Lazear, Edward P, 1984. "The Excess Sensitivity of Layoffs and Quits to Demand," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(2), pages 233-57, April.
  3. 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.
  4. Myerson, Roger B. & Satterthwaite, Mark A., 1983. "Efficient mechanisms for bilateral trading," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 265-281, April.
  5. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-61, October.
  6. Caballero, Ricardo J. & Hammour, Mohamad L., 1996. "On the ills of adjustment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 161-192, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Robert E. Hall, 1999. "Aggregate Job Destruction and Inventory Liquidation," NBER Working Papers 6912, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. O Blanchard & A Landier, 2002. "The Perverse Effects of Partial Labour Market Reform: fixed--Term Contracts in France," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages F214-F244, June.
  3. J.W.B. Bos & P.C. van Santen & P. Schilp, 2009. "Reallocating profits in restructuring industries: evidence from European and US banking," Working Papers 09-12, Utrecht School of Economics.
  4. Scholz, Christian M., 1997. "Environmental tax reform with irreversible investment, technological progress and unemployment," Kiel Working Papers 798, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  5. Olivier Blanchard & Augustin Landier, 2001. "The Perverse Effects of Partial Labor Market Reform: Fixed Duration Contracts in France," NBER Working Papers 8219, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Tse, Chung Yi, 2000. "Monopoly, human capital accumulation and development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 137-174, February.
  7. Gert Wagner, 2005. "Un Siglo de Tributación Minera en Chile: 1880-1980," Documentos de Trabajo 288, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  8. Xavier Galiègue, 1999. "Rigidités microéconomiques, flexibilité macroéconomique. L'émergence d'une macro-économie de la spécificité et de l'irréversibilité," Cahiers d'Économie Politique, Programme National Persée, vol. 35(1), pages 19-36.
  9. Maciej K. Dudek & ówna Handlowa, 2006. "On Artificial Structural Unemployment," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 171, Society for Computational Economics.
  10. André Kurmann & Nicolas Petrosky-Nadeau, 2007. "Search Frictions in Physical Capital Markets as a Propagation Mechanism," Cahiers de recherche 0712, CIRPEE.
  11. Oscar Landerretche Moreno, 2007. "Creation and Destruction: Evidence from an Emerging Market," Working Papers wp246, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
  12. Gert-Jan Linders, 2004. "The Effect of Domestic Institutions on International Trade Flows: A sectoral analysis," ERSA conference papers ersa04p357, European Regional Science Association.
  13. Claudio Michelacci, 2003. "Low Returns in R&D Due to the Lack of Entrepreneurial Skills," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 207-225, January.
  14. Michelacci, Claudio, 2002. "Low Returns in R&D Due to Lack of Entrepreneurial Skills," CEPR Discussion Papers 3179, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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