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The Firm as a Pool of Factor Complementarities


  • Assar Lindbeck
  • Dennis Snower


This paper presents a new approach to the theory of the firm by identifying factor complementarities as central to the determination of the firm’s boundaries. The factor complementarities may take a variety of forms: technological and informational complementarities, as well as economies of scale and scope. We examine the tradeoff between the gains from these complementarities and transactions costs. In so doing, we must abandon the standard dichotomy between the determinants of plant size and firm size. The influence of factor complementarities on firm size is examined in partial and general equilibrium frameworks.

Suggested Citation

  • Assar Lindbeck & Dennis Snower, 2003. "The Firm as a Pool of Factor Complementarities," CESifo Working Paper Series 1046, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1046

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-795, December.
    2. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 1994. "The firm as a communication network," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9595, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Baumol, William J, 1982. "Contestable Markets: An Uprising in the Theory of Industry Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 1-15, March.
    4. Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J, 1996. "Reorganization of Firms and Labor-Market Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 315-321, May.
    5. 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.
    6. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 1994. "The Firm as a Communication Network," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 809-839.
    7. Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 324-340, Autumn.
    8. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Madalina Constantinescu, 2008. "Knowledge Management Through The Lens Of Innovation And Labour Productivity In A Knowledge Based Economy," Journal of Applied Economic Sciences, Spiru Haret University, Faculty of Financial Management and Accounting Craiova, vol. 3(2(4)_Summ).
    2. Riccardo Leoni & Giuseppe Usai, 2004. "Organizations Between Systemic and Epistemological Complexities. An Introduction," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 94(1), pages 3-25, January-F.
    3. Aurora García-Gallego & Nikolaos Georgantzís & Joan Martín-Montaner & Teodosio Pérez-Amaral, 2015. "(How) Do research and administrative duties affect university professors' teaching?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(45), pages 4868-4883, September.
    4. Alla Lileeva & Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2013. "Outsourcing When Investments Are Specific And Interrelated," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 871-896, August.
    5. Werner Hölzl, 2005. "The evolutionary theory of the firm: Routines, complexity and change," Working Papers geewp46, Vienna University of Economics and Business Research Group: Growth and Employment in Europe: Sustainability and Competitiveness.
    6. Arvanitis, Spyros & Loukis, Euripidis N., 2009. "Information and communication technologies, human capital, workplace organization and labour productivity: A comparative study based on firm-level data for Greece and Switzerland," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 43-61, February.
    7. repec:spr:infosf:v:14:y:2012:i:2:d:10.1007_s10796-010-9276-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Horst Raff & Michael J. Ryan, 2008. "Firm-Specific Characteristics and the Timing of Foreign Direct Investment Projects," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 144(1), pages 1-31, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights

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