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Can contractual theories of the firm ecplain the existence of knowledge-intensive firms?


  • Volker Mahnke


This paper argues that the existence of knowledge-intensive firms pose puzzelments for the contractual theories of the firm. For example, in knowledge-intensive firms physical assets are widely absent, the nature of employment relations and asset-ownership are much less clear compared to industrial firms. Although knowledge-intensive firms account for a growing share in wealth-creation and employment, they have hitherto made relatively little impact on contributions to the contractual theories of the firm (e.g. the work associated with Coase, 1937; Williamson, 1971 1975, 1985; Alchian and Demsetz, 1972; Meckling and Jensen, 1976, Grossman and Hart, 1986, Hart, 1995). Here, I identify puzzlement for the contractual theories of the firm related to the existence of knowledge-intensive firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Volker Mahnke, "undated". "Can contractual theories of the firm ecplain the existence of knowledge-intensive firms?," IVS/CBS Working Papers 97-11, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy, Copenhagen Business School.
  • Handle: RePEc:ivs:iivswp:97-11

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    More about this item


    knowledge; firm; theories of firms;

    JEL classification:

    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness


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