Fundamental Uncertainty and the Firm in the Long Run
Oliver Williamson claims that bounded rationality and 'behavioural uncertainty' are principal factors influencing market-based transaction costs. Post Keynesian economists typically distinguish between ergodic and non-ergodic processes with the latter providing a technical definition of 'fundamental uncertainty'. Often, the salience of this fundamental uncertainty has been ignored or conflated with bounded rationality and behavioural uncertainty. Consequently, the richness and distinctness of such concepts is much diminished. This paper shows that while bounded rationality is a key behavioural assumption that may account for the existence of high market-based transaction costs in an ergodic world, and thus for the emergence of firms as distinct modes of economic organisation, it may do so only in the short run. I demonstrate, however, that non-ergodicity can be used to explain the existence of transaction costs and thus firms in the long run.
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Volume (Year): 12 (2000)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
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