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L’autorité ne fait pas le contrat de travail : Une critique du modèle de Simon (1951)


  • Camille Chaserant



Continental Law defines the employment contract by the “subordination” of the employee to the employer. Since Simon (1951), economics defines authority as the opportunity for the employer to postpone the selection of the tasks the employee should perform. These definitions do not fit. Using the framework of option pricing in order to interpret Simon’s model, this paper shows that the economic concept of the employment contract is a spot contract paired with a call option on the employee’s tasks. Therefore, the economic formalization of the employment contract does not implement what lawyers define as an employment relationship.

Suggested Citation

  • Camille Chaserant, 2010. "L’autorité ne fait pas le contrat de travail : Une critique du modèle de Simon (1951)," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 58, pages 61-81.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpo:journl:y:2010:i:58:p:61-81

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Olivier Godard, 1990. "Environnement, modes de coordination et systèmes de légitimité : analyse de la catégorie de patrimoine naturel," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 41(2), pages 215-242.
    2. Claude Henry, 1984. "La microéconomie comme langage et enjeu de négociations," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 35(1), pages 177-198.
    3. Thierry Hommel & Olivier Godard, 2002. "Trajectoire de contestabilité sociale et production d'OGM à usage agricole," Économie rurale, Programme National Persée, vol. 270(1), pages 36-49.
    4. Driessen, Peter P. J. & Glasbergen, Pieter & Verdaas, Co, 2001. "Interactive policy-making - a model of management for public works," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 128(2), pages 322-337, January.
    5. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132-132.
    6. Jean-Charles Hourcade & Emeric Fortin, 2000. "Impact economique des politiques climatiques : des controverses aux enjeux de coordination," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 82, pages 45-74.
    7. Olivier Barreteau, 2003. "The Joint Use of Role-Playing Games and Models Regarding Negotiation Processes: Characterization of Associations," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 6(2), pages 1-3.
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    More about this item


    authority; subordination; employment contract; option value; renegotiation;

    JEL classification:

    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts


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