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Firms as clubs in Walrasian markets with private information

  • Edward S. Prescott
  • Robert M. Townsend

Using private information and club theories, this paper develops a theory of firms in general equilibrium. Firms are defined to be assignments of technologies and agents to clubs. In equilibrium, firms form endogenously and multiple types may co-exist. We formulate the general equilibrium problem as both a Pareto program and as a competitive equilibrium. Welfare and existence theorems are provided. In the competitive equilibrium, club memberships are priced and purchased, so the market determines which organizations exist as well as who is a member. Pareto optima and competitive equilibria of several examples are computed. In our examples, elements of limited commitment and monitoring capabilities are important factors that affect both the internal organization of firms and their equilibrium distribution. Furthermore, equilibrium organizational structure varies with the aggregate endowment of capital and the distribution of wealth.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 00-08.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:00-08
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  1. Tjalling C. Koopmans & Martin J. Beckmann, 1955. "Assignment Problems and the Location of Economic Activities," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 4, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  2. Prescott, Edward C & Townsend, Robert M, 1984. "General Competitive Analysis in an Economy with Private Information," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(1), pages 1-20, February.
  3. Bengt Holmstrom, 1981. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Discussion Papers 471, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Prescott, Edward Simpson, 2004. "Computing solutions to moral-hazard programs using the Dantzig-Wolfe decomposition algorithm," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 777-800, January.
  5. Edward C Prescott & Robert M Townsend, 2010. "Pareto Optima and Competitive Equilibria With Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2069, David K. Levine.
  6. HOLMSTROM, Bengt, . "Moral hazard and observability," CORE Discussion Papers RP -379, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. Itoh Hideshi, 1993. "Coalitions, Incentives, and Risk Sharing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 410-427, August.
  8. Harris Milton & Townsend, Robert M, 1981. "Resource Allocation under Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(1), pages 33-64, January.
  9. James A. Mirrlees, 1976. "The Optimal Structure of Incentives and Authority Within an Organization," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 7(1), pages 105-131, Spring.
  10. Bryan Ellickson & Birgit Grodal & Suzanne Scotchmer & William R. Zame, 1999. "Clubs and the Market," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(5), pages 1185-1218, September.
  11. McKenzie, Lionel W, 1981. "The Classical Theorem on Existence of Competitive Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 819-41, June.
  12. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
  13. Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 1992. "Wealth Effects," Discussion Papers 1024, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  14. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
  15. Cole, Harold Linh, 1989. "General Competitive Analysis in an Economy with Private Information: Comment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(1), pages 249-52, February.
  16. Cole, Harold L. & Prescott, Edward C., 1997. "Valuation Equilibrium with Clubs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 19-39, May.
  17. Sherwin Rosen, 1982. "Authority, Control, and the Distribution of Earnings," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 311-323, Autumn.
  18. Demski, Joel S. & Sappington, David, 1984. "Optimal incentive contracts with multiple agents," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 152-171, June.
  19. Andreas Hornstein & Edward C. Prescott, 1989. "The firm and the plant in general equilibrium theory," Staff Report 126, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  20. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1990. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Discussion Papers 911, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  21. Mookherjee, Dilip, 1984. "Optimal Incentive Schemes with Many Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 433-46, July.
  22. Sattinger, Michael, 1993. "Assignment Models of the Distribution of Earnings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 831-80, June.
  23. Ramakrishnan, Ram T S & Thakor, Anjan V, 1991. "Cooperation versus Competition in Agency," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 248-83, Fall.
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