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Hierarchies, Markets and Power in the Economy: An Economic Perspective


  • Williamson, Oliver E


This paper adopts the transaction cost economics perspective for purposes of examining hierarchies, markets, and power in the economy. Transaction cost economics works out of an economizing perspective in which markets and hierarchies are alternative modes of governance and the object is to ascertain which transactions go where and why. The role of power in this setup is strictly limited--partly because power tends to be myopic (transactions are not examined 'in their entirety') and partly because it is tautological. Power needs to be operationalized, whereupon the refutable implications that accrue to this perspective can be derived. Copyright 1995 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Williamson, Oliver E, 1995. "Hierarchies, Markets and Power in the Economy: An Economic Perspective," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 21-49.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:indcch:v:4:y:1995:i:1:p:21-49

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bas Jacobs & Frederick Van Der Ploeg, 2006. "Guide to reform of higher education: a European perspective," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 21(47), pages 535-592, July.
    2. Moretti, Enrico, 2004. "Estimating the social return to higher education: evidence from longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 175-212.
    3. André Sapir & Philippe Aghion & Mathias Dewatripont & Caroline Hoxby & Andreu Mas-Colell, 2007. "Why reform Europe's universities," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/8100, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    4. Laura Abramovsky & Rupert Harrison & Helen Simpson, 2007. "University Research and the Location of Business R&D," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(519), pages 114-141, March.
    5. Paul M. Romer, 2001. "Should the Government Subsidize Supply or Demand in the Market for Scientists and Engineers?," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 1, pages 221-252 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Bruno Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, 2008. "Europe's R&D: Missing the Wrong Targets?," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;German National Library of Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 43(4), pages 220-225, July.
    7. Francesco Lissoni & Bulat Sanditov & Gianluca Tarasconi, 2006. "The Keins Database on Academic Inventors: Methodology and Contents," KITeS Working Papers 181, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Sep 2006.
    8. Manuel Bagues & Mauro Sylos Labini & Natalia Zinovyeva, 2008. "Differential Grading Standards and University Funding: Evidence from Italy," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 54(2), pages 149-176.
    9. Dosi, Giovanni & Llerena, Patrick & Labini, Mauro Sylos, 2006. "The relationships between science, technologies and their industrial exploitation: An illustration through the myths and realities of the so-called `European Paradox'," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1450-1464, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter G. Klein & Michael E. Sykuta (ed.), 2010. "The Elgar Companion to Transaction Cost Economics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 4136.
    2. Carrère, Céline & Fugazza, Marco & Olarreaga, Marcelo & Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, 2016. "On the heterogeneous effect of trade on unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 11540, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Rakesh Basant & Pankaj Chandra & Lynn Mytelka, 2001. "Inter-Firm Linkages and Development of Capabilities in the Indian Telecom Software Sector," Economics Study Area Working Papers 14, East-West Center, Economics Study Area.
    4. Reddy, Kotapati Srinivasa, 2016. "Institutional Voids and Tax litigation in Emerging Economies: The verdict of Vodafone cross-border acquisition of Hutchison," MPRA Paper 74264, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2016.
    5. Nepal, Rabindra & Jamasb, Tooraj, 2015. "Caught between theory and practice: Government, market, and regulatory failure in electricity sector reforms," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 16-24.
    6. Li, Ji & Chu, Chris W.L. & Wang, Xinran & Zhu, Hong & Tang, Guiyao & Chen, Yuanyi, 2012. "Symbiotic ownership, cultural alignment, and firm performance: A test among international strategic alliances," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 987-997.
    7. Rabindra, Nepal & Tooraj, Jamasb, 2013. "Caught Between Theory and Practice: Government, Market, and Regulatory Failure in Electricity Sector Reforms," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-22, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    8. repec:eee:rujoec:v:2:y:2016:i:1:p:86-110 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Egbert, Henrik & Sedlarski, Teodor, 2011. "Exploring Impact: Negative Effects of Social Networks," MPRA Paper 56688, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2010. "Limits of Transaction Cost Analysis," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Transaction Cost Economics, chapter 28 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. B. Mathias & Sean Lux & T. Russell Crook & Chad Autry & Russell Zaretzki, 2015. "Competing Against the Unknown: The Impact of Enabling and Constraining Institutions on the Informal Economy," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 127(2), pages 251-264, March.
    12. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-400 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Masahiko Aoki, 2004. "An Organizational Architecture of T-form: Silicon Valley Clustering and its Institutional Coherence (Formerly 03004)," Discussion papers 04003, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    14. Ebers, Mark & Semrau, Thorsten, 2015. "What drives the allocation of specific investments between buyer and supplier?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 415-424.
    15. Giovanni Dosi & Luigi Marengo & Alessandro Nuvolari, 2016. "Institutions Are neither Autistic Maximizers nor Flocks of Birds: Self-organization, Power, and Learning in Human Organizations," LEM Papers Series 2016/38, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    16. Bernard Baudry & Virgile Chassagnon, 2016. "The regulation of collective labour relationships : an assessment of the Oliver Williamson's private ordering-public ordering divide," Working Papers halshs-01371848, HAL.
    17. Fabrice Roth, 1998. "Structures de propriété, pouvoir discrétionnaire managérial et choix d'activité dans l'assurance dommages en France," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie,, vol. 1(1), pages 169-194, March.

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