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On the Neutrality of Asset Ownership for Work Incentives

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  • Dow, Gregory K.

Abstract

Two ownership systems are compared: one where outsiders own the physical assets of firms and another where these assets are jointly owned by workers. Effort and side payments are self-enforced. Market-wide incentive constraints lead to restrictions on the distribution of profit between capital and labor which differ for the two systems. But these asymmetries are exactly offset by the bundling of input returns in a joint ownership economy, so for any self-enforcing equilibrium on the second-best frontier of one system there exists an equivalent equilibrium on the frontier of the other. An efficient outside ownership economy cannot be destabilized by spontaneous transitions to joint ownership or conversely. When capital is scarce, welfare maximization requires that all profit go to workers, but when labor is scarce all profit should go to asset owners.
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Suggested Citation

  • Dow, Gregory K., 2000. "On the Neutrality of Asset Ownership for Work Incentives," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 581-605, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:28:y:2000:i:3:p:581-605
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dow, G & Putterman, L, 1996. "Why Capital (Usually) Hires Labor : An Assessment of Proposed Explanations," Discussion Papers dp97-03, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
    2. Putterman, Louis & Skillman, Gilbert L., 1992. "The role of exit costs in the theory of cooperative teams," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 596-618, December.
    3. Dow, Gregory K., 1986. "Control rights, competitive markets, and the labor management debate," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 48-61, March.
    4. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    5. Gregory Dow, 1996. "Replicating Walrasian equilibria using markets for membership in labor-managed firms," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 2(1), pages 147-162, December.
    6. Dow, Gregory K, 1993. "Why Capital Hires Labor: A Bargaining Perspective," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 118-134, March.
    7. Dong Xiao-yuan & Dow Gregory K., 1993. "Does Free Exit Reduce Shirking in Production Teams?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 472-484, June.
    8. David Andolfatto & Ed Nosal, 1997. "Optimal Team Contracts," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(2), pages 385-396, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dow, Gregory K., 2002. "The ultimate control group," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 39-49, September.
    2. Dow, Gregory K. & Putterman, Louis, 2000. "Why capital suppliers (usually) hire workers: what we know and what we need to know," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 319-336, November.
    3. Cecilia Navarra & Ermanno Tortia, 2014. "Employer Moral Hazard, Wage Rigidity, and Worker Cooperatives: A Theoretical Appraisal," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(3), pages 707-726.
    4. repec:bla:annpce:v:88:y:2017:i:3:p:65-86 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Chang, Juin-jen & Lai, Ching-chong & Lin, Chung-cheng, 2003. "Profit sharing, worker effort, and double-sided moral hazard in an efficiency wage model," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 75-93, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • J54 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Producer Cooperatives; Labor Managed Firms
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems

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