IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Partnerships as Insurance Devices: Theory and Evidence


  • Kevin Lang
  • Peter-John Gordon


We model partnerships as mutual insurance associations in which individuals band together to insure themselves against idiosyncratic shocks to their human capital. As with most forms of insurance, this generates a tradeoff between efficiency and risk sharing. Since partners keep only a fraction of the profits they generate, they will supply less-than-optimal effort. We show that in equilibrium, participants in larger partnerships keep a smaller share of their own proceeds. We test and confirm this prediction using a sample of partners in law firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Lang & Peter-John Gordon, 1995. "Partnerships as Insurance Devices: Theory and Evidence," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 614-629, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:26:y:1995:i:winter:p:614-629

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to JSTOR subscribers. See for details.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rey, Patrick & Stiglitz, Joseph, 1988. "Vertical restraints and producers' competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(2-3), pages 561-568, March.
    2. Timothy W. McGuire & Richard Staelin, 1983. "An Industry Equilibrium Analysis of Downstream Vertical Integration," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 2(2), pages 161-191.
    3. G.F. Mathewson & R.A. Winter, 1984. "An Economic Theory of Vertical Restraints," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 27-38, Spring.
    4. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
    5. Steven C. Salop, 1979. "Monopolistic Competition with Outside Goods," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 141-156, Spring.
    6. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1985. "Common Marketing Agency as a Device for Facilitating Collusion," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(2), pages 269-281, Summer.
    7. Bonanno, Giacomo & Vickers, John, 1988. "Vertical Separation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(3), pages 257-265, March.
    8. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Common Agency," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 923-942, July.
    9. Vickers, John, 1985. "Delegation and the Theory of the Firm," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 95(380a), pages 138-147, Supplemen.
    10. Fershtman, Chaim & Judd, Kenneth L, 1987. "Equilibrium Incentives in Oligopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 927-940, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. van Lent, L.A.G.M., 1999. "Incomplete contracting theory in empirical accounting research," Other publications TiSEM 088f797d-9fa4-4081-98f4-1, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    2. James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor, 2007. "When Knowledge Is an Asset: Explaining the Organizational Structure of Large Law Firms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 201-229.
    3. Paz Espinosa, Maria & Macho-Stadler, Ines, 2003. "Endogenous formation of competing partnerships with moral hazard," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 183-194, July.
    4. Encinosa III, William E. & Gaynor, Martin & Rebitzer, James B., 2007. "The sociology of groups and the economics of incentives: Theory and evidence on compensation systems," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 187-214, February.
    5. Martin Gaynor & Deborah Haas-Wilson, 1999. "Change, Consolidation, and Competition in Health Care Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 141-164, Winter.
    6. Mohamed Ariff, 2011. "Ethics-based Financial Transactions: An Assessment of Islamic Banking," Chapters,in: The Foundations of Islamic Banking, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Michael Kremer, 1997. "Why are Worker Cooperatives So Rare?," NBER Working Papers 6118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Özgür Kıbrıs & Arzu Kıbrıs, 2016. "On surplus-sharing in partnerships," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(1), pages 89-111, June.
    9. Paz Espinosa, Maria & Macho-Stadler, Ines, 2003. "Endogenous formation of competing partnerships with moral hazard," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 183-194, July.
    10. repec:eee:jeborg:v:144:y:2017:i:c:p:121-132 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Ran Abramitzky, 2008. "The Limits of Equality: Insights from the Israeli Kibbutz," Discussion Papers 07-048, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    12. Fabio Caldieraro & Anne T. Coughlan, 2009. "Optimal Sales Force Diversification and Group Incentive Payments," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(6), pages 1009-1026, 11-12.
    13. Michael T. Rauh, 2014. "Incentives, wages, employment, and the division of labor in teams," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(3), pages 533-552, September.
    14. van Lent, L.A.G.M., 1996. "The Economics of an Audit Frm : The Case of KPMG in the Netherlands," Research Memorandum 730, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    15. Krakel, Matthias & Steiner, Gunter, 2001. "Equal sharing in partnerships?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 105-109, October.
    16. Dutta, Jayasri & Prasad, Kislaya, 2002. "Stable risk-sharing," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 411-439, December.
    17. Prescott, Edward Simpson & Townsend, Robert M., 2002. "Collective Organizations versus Relative Performance Contracts: Inequality, Risk Sharing, and Moral Hazard," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 282-310, April.
    18. HEGE, Ulrich & HAUSWALD, Robert, 2002. "Ownership and control in joint ventures: theory and evidence," Les Cahiers de Recherche 750, HEC Paris.
    19. Kurschilgen, Michael & Morell, Alexander & Weisel, Ori, 2017. "Internal conflict, market uniformity, and transparency in price competition between teams," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168057, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    20. Michael Kurschilgen & Alexander Morell & Ori Weisel, 2016. "Internal conflict, market uniformity, and transparency in price competition between teams," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2016_18, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:26:y:1995:i:winter:p:614-629. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.