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Inequality, Incomplete Contracts, and the Size Distribution of Business Firms

  • Thomas Gall


    (Economic Theory II, University of Bonn)

This paper analyzes the effects of intrafirm bargaining on the formation of firms in an economy with imperfect capital markets and contracting constraints. In equilibrium wealth inequality induces a heterogenous distribution of firm sizes allowing for firms both too small and too large in terms of technical efficiency. The findings connect well to empirical facts such as the missing middle of size distributions in developing countries. The model identifies a number of properties of the firm size distribution with respect to the wealth distribution and can encompass a non-monotonic relationship between aggregate wealth and inequality.

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Paper provided by JEPS in its series JEPS Working Papers with number 05-004.

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Length: 60 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:jep:wpaper:05004
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  1. Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2008. "Competing for Ownership," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(6), pages 1279-1308, December.
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  4. Mary Hallward-Driemeier & Giuseppe Iarossi & Kenneth L. Sokoloff, 2002. "Exports and Manufacturing Productivity in East Asia: A Comparative Analysis with Firm-Level Data," NBER Working Papers 8894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1997. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 6274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Westermark, Andreas, 2003. "Bargaining, binding contracts, and competitive wages," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 296-311, May.
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  8. Thomas Cooley & Ramon Marimon & Vincenzo Quadrini, 2003. "Aggregate Consequences of Limited Contract Enforceability," NBER Working Papers 10132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Reny, Philip J. & Holtz Wooders, Myrna, 1996. "The Partnered Core of a Game without Side Payments," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 298-311, August.
  10. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 1998. "The Macroeconomics of Specificity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 724-767, August.
  11. Cabral, Luís M B & Mata, José, 2001. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution: Facts and Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 3045, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Lars A. Stole & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 1996. "Intra-firm Bargaining under Non-binding Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(3), pages 375-410.
  13. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1998. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 387-432.
  14. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
  15. Kaneko, Mamoru & Wooders, Myrna Holtz, 1996. "The Nonemptiness of the f-Core of a Game without Side Payments," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 245-58.
  16. Shubik, Martin & Wooders, Myrna Holtz, 1983. "Approximate cores of replica games and economies : Part II: Set-up costs and firm formation in coalition production economies," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 285-306, December.
  17. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1979. "A General Equilibrium Entrepreneurial Theory of Firm Formation Based on Risk Aversion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 719-48, August.
  18. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
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