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The Employment Relationship versus Independent Contracting: On the Organizational Choice and Incentives

  • Ayse Mumcu-Serdar

    (Bogazici University)

This paper studies a firm's choice between employing a worker and using an independent contractor to carry out a task. If the firm hires a worker, all residual rights reside with the firm. In contrast, when the firm deals with an independent contractor, it cannot interfere with the way the task is undertaken. The firm's future actions may impose non-pecuniary costs to the worker, and as a result the worker requires an ex-ante compensation. The firm can economize on the up-front cost by hiring an independent contractor. Independent contracting is a commitment device which ensures that the principal will not intervene in the future. However, when the firm has superior private information that is relevant to the execution of the task, the firm faces a trade-off between paying lower costs by hiring an independent contractor and keeping the option of value-enhancing intervention in employment relationship.

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Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 1333.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1333
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  1. Khalil, F. & Lawarree, J., 1993. "Input Versus Output Monitoring: Who Is the Residual Claimant?," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 93-01, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  2. Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Dewatripont, Mathias & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "A Theory of Debt and Equity: Diversity of Securities and Manager-Shareholder Congruence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1027-54, November.
  6. Masten, Scott E, 1984. "The Organization of Production: Evidence from the Aerospace Industry," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 403-17, October.
  7. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  8. Masten, Scott E, 1988. "A Legal Basis for the Firm," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 181-98, Spring.
  9. Myerson, Roger B, 1983. "Mechanism Design by an Informed Principal," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1767-97, November.
  10. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-91, September.
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