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Managing Uncertainty through Profit Sharing Contracts from Medieval Italy to Silicon Valley

  • Maria Brouwer

    ()

Organizational innovation is essential to economic development. But, the way successful societies have organized new ventures has been remarkably similar in both past and present. The commenda organizations of medieval Italy shared many characteristics with modern startups that are financed by venture capital. Profit share contracts; limited liability and periodic reevaluations are cases in point. Agency contracts in both types of ventures are designed to absorb the high uncertainty inherent to these enterprises through risk sharing. Uncertainty prohibits a unique ex ante ranking order of investment projects and prompts investors to look for hidden human capital. Equity finance is better equipped to even out unexpected losses and gains that are inherent to uncertainty than debt finance. Copyright Springer 2005

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10997-005-7420-4
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Management & Governance.

Volume (Year): 9 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 237-255

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jmgtgv:v:9:y:2005:i:3:p:237-255
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102940

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  1. Oz Shy, 1996. "Industrial Organization: Theory and Applications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262691795, June.
  2. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
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