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A Consistent Firm Objective When Markets are Incomplete: Profit Maximization

  • Tarun Sabarwal

In economies with private firm ownership, when markets are incomplete, and firm shareholders change over time, there is no broad agreement on what ought to be a firm's objective. It is shown that ex-post, profit maximization is consistent with shareholder preferences in such economies; that is, along the equilibrium path, in every period and state of the world, every coalition of a firm's shareholders in that period and state approves a profit-maximizing production plan. This result is shown using natural assumptions about shareholder preferences and shareholder control, and it applies to cases when shareholders within a firm and across firms can form coalitions, and when stock trading can be ex-dividend or cum-dividend, and with a combination of both. This result can help provide a foundation for formulating a theory of the firm when markets are incomplete; a theory based on primitives of shareholder preferences and shareholder control that are to be necessarily satisfied in economies with private firm ownership.

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Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings with number 141.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:nasm04:141
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  1. John Geanakoplos & Michael Magill & Martine Quinzii & J. Dreze, 1988. "Generic Inefficiency of Stock Market Equilibrium When Markets Are Incomplete," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 863, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Egbert Dierker & Hildegard Dierker & Birgit Grodal, 2000. "Nonexistence of Constrained Efficient Equilibria when Markets are Incomplete," CIE Discussion Papers 2000-07, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  3. Duffie, Darrell & Shafer, Wayne, 1985. "Equilibrium in incomplete markets: I : A basic model of generic existence," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 285-300, June.
  4. Oussama Lachiri & Jean-Marc Bonnisseau, 2004. "Dreze's Criterion In A Multi-Period Economy With Stock Markets," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2004 88, Royal Economic Society.
  5. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1982. "The Inefficiency of the Stock Market Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 241-261.
  6. Radner, Roy, 1972. "Existence of Equilibrium of Plans, Prices, and Price Expectations in a Sequence of Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(2), pages 289-303, March.
  7. Dierker, Egbert & Grodal, Birgit, 1996. "Profit Maximization Mitigates Competition," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 7(1), pages 139-60, January.
  8. Steinar Ekern & Robert Wilson, 1974. "On the Theory of the Firm in an Economy with Incomplete Markets," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 5(1), pages 171-180, Spring.
  9. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1979. "A Theory of Competitive Equilibrium in Stock Market Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 293-329, March.
  10. Tarun Sabarwal, 2004. "On the Allocative Efficiency of Competitive Prices in Economies with Incomplete Markets," GE, Growth, Math methods 0410006, EconWPA.
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