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Transactions Costs and Internal Labor Markets

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  • Rosen, Sherwin

Abstract

The concept of transactions costs used by Coase in "The Nature of the Firm" is applied to the internal labor market of an organization. Under joint production it is shown that the number of transaction-specific prices necessary to decentralize labor allocations rises geometrically with the size of the work force. Complexity of calculation and costs of implementation constrains the possibilities for internal decentralization through a price mechanism and substitutes a more authoritarian system of allocation instead. These same issues of complexity and implementation costs limit the usefulness of agency theory as a conceptual framework for this problem. The analysis suggests that an internal labor market must be viewed in a more comprehensive framework of a personnel management system.
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Suggested Citation

  • Rosen, Sherwin, 1988. "Transactions Costs and Internal Labor Markets," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 49-64, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:4:y:1988:i:1:p:49-64
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    Cited by:

    1. Kirsten Foss, 1998. "Technological Interdependencies,Specialization and Coordination A Property Rights Perspective on The Nature of the Firm," DRUID Working Papers 98-10, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    2. Richardson, Alan J. & Kilfoyle, Eksa, 2009. "Accounting in markets, hierarchies and networks: The role of accounting in the transnational governance of postal transactions," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 939-956, November.
    3. Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 145-176, February.
    4. Brynjolfsson, Erik., 1991. "An incomplete contracts theory of information, technology and organization," Working papers #126. Working paper (Sloa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    5. Arnaldo Camuffo, 2002. "The Changing Nature of Internal Labor Markets," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 6(4), pages 281-294, December.
    6. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4126 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. James Jr., Harvey S., 1998. "Are employment and managerial control equivalent? Evidence from an electronics producer," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 447-471, September.

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