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The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration


  • Grossman, Sanford J
  • Hart, Oliver D


Our theory of costly contracts emphasizes that contractual rights can be of two types: specific rights and residual rights. When it is costly to list all specific rights over assets in the contract, it may be optimal to let one party purchase all residual rights. Ownership is the purchase of these residual rights. When residual rights are purchased by one party, they are lost by a second party, and this inevitably creates distortions. Firm 1 purchases firm 2 when firm 1's control increases the productivity of its management more than the loss of control decreases the productivity of firm 2's management.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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  • Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:94:y:1986:i:4:p:691-719

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    2. Michael Waldman, 1984. "Worker Allocation, Hierarchies and the Wage Distribution," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 95-109.
    3. Sherwin Rosen, 1982. "Authority, Control, and the Distribution of Earnings," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 311-323, Autumn.
    4. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1975. "Vertical Integration and Communication," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 6(1), pages 173-183, Spring.
    5. Williamson, Oliver E, 1983. "Credible Commitments: Using Hostages to Support Exchange," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 519-540, September.
    6. Michael Keren & David Levhari, 1983. "The Internal Organization of the Firm and the Shape of Average Costs," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 474-486, Autumn.
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