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Experience Benefits and Firm Organization


  • Ching-to Albert MA

    () (Department of Economics, Boston University.)

  • Ingela Alger

    () (TSE (LERNA, CNRS) and Economics Department, Carleton University)

  • Regis Renault

    () (Universite de Cergy-Pontoise, THEMA, Cergy-Pontoise Cedex FRANCE, and Institut Universitaire de France;)


A principal chooses between in-house production and outsourcing. An agent will be hired when production is in-house. An agent will be contracted upon when production is outsourced. In each case, the agent earns experience benefits: future monetary returns from managing production, reputation, and enjoyment. The principal would like to extract experience bene ts. He can do so when production is outsourced. But the external agent earns information rent from private information about production costs. The principal cannot fully extract experience bene ts when production is in-house because the internal agent must receive a minimum income, although the principal has full information on production costs. Our theory proposes a new trade-off, between information rent under outsourcing, and experience rent under in-house production. The principal chooses outsourcing when experience benefits are high. The principal's organizational choice may be socially inefficient.

Suggested Citation

  • Ching-to Albert MA & Ingela Alger & Regis Renault, 2012. "Experience Benefits and Firm Organization," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2012-007, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2012-007

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Anke S. Kessler & Christoph Lülfesmann, 2006. "The Theory of Human Capital Revisited: on the Interaction of General and Specific Investments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 903-923, October.
    2. Alger Ingela & Ma Ching-to Albert & Renault Regis, 2012. "Experience Benefits and Firm Organization," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-35, September.
    3. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-827, August.
    4. Jacques Crémer & Luis Garicano & Andrea Prat, 2007. "Language and the Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 373-407.
    5. Sherwin Rosen, 1972. "Learning by Experience as Joint Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(3), pages 366-382.
    6. Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1992. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 468-505, June.
    7. Hubbard, Thomas N, 2001. "Contractual Form and Market Thickness in Trucking," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(2), pages 369-386, Summer.
    8. Gonzalez-Diaz, Manuel & Arrunada, Benito & Fernandez, Alberto, 2000. "Causes of subcontracting: evidence from panel data on construction firms," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 167-187, June.
    9. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12408 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Rosés, Joan R., 2005. "Subcontracting and vertical integration in the Spanish cotton industry," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wh051302, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    11. Masten, Scott E, 1988. "A Legal Basis for the Firm," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 181-198, Spring.
    12. Masten, Scott E. & Meehan, James Jr. & Snyder, Edward A., 1989. "Vertical integration in the U.S. auto industry : A note on the influence of transaction specific assets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 265-273, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicolas Klein, 2009. "Free-Riding And Delegation In Research Teams," 2009 Meeting Papers 253, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Alger Ingela & Ma Ching-to Albert & Renault Regis, 2012. "Experience Benefits and Firm Organization," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-35, September.
    3. repec:eee:reensy:v:148:y:2016:i:c:p:96-108 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    vertical integration; experience bene ts; experience rents; informational rents.;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure

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