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Governance of Adjustments

  • Wernerfelt, Birger

The article proposes a research program to compare game forms in terms of their ability to govern ex post adjustments to ex ante contracts. The comparisons can be based on direct implementation-costs or the extent to which desirable adjustments are not implemented. In several examples of the program, we compare three game forms: Negotiation over each adjustment, ex ante price lists, and implicit contracts leaving the stipulation of adjustments to one player. If the latter game form is defined as an employment relationship, the theory of the firm becomes a special case of the program. The article starts with a discussion of the nature and magnitude of adjustment-costs, followed by an exposition of four examples. We then discuss the role of asset ownership, review some empirical evidence, and look at broader implications.

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Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management in its series Working papers with number 4412-03.

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Date of creation: 14 Mar 2003
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Handle: RePEc:mit:sloanp:1836
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  1. Wernerfelt, Birger, 1997. "On the Nature and Scope of the Firm: An Adjustment-Cost Theory," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70(4), pages 489-514, October.
  2. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 2001. "The Firm as a Dedicated Hierarchy: A Theory of the Origins and Growth of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 805-851.
  4. Steven Tadelis, 2002. "Complexity, Flexibility, and the Make-or-Buy Decision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 433-437, May.
  5. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1999. "On the design of hierarchies: coordination versus specialization," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19340, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Geanakoplos, John & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "A theory of hierarchies based on limited managerial attention," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 205-225, September.
  7. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-28, March.
  8. Francine Lafontaine & Scott E. Masten, 2002. "Contracting in the Absence of Specific Investments and Moral Hazard: Understanding Carrier-Driver Relations in U.S. Trucking," NBER Working Papers 8859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1997. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 6274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Patrick Bajari & Robert S. McMillan & Steve Tadelis, 2003. "Auctions Versus Negotiations in Procurement: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 9757, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Duncan I. Simester & Birger Wernerfelt, 2005. "Determinants of Asset Ownership: A Study of the Carpentry Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 50-58, February.
  12. Myerson, Roger B. & Satterthwaite, Mark A., 1983. "Efficient mechanisms for bilateral trading," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 265-281, April.
  13. Kirk Monteverde, 1995. "Technical Dialog as an Incentive for Vertical Integration in the Semiconductor Industry," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 41(10), pages 1624-1638, October.
  14. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-91, September.
  15. Bajari, Patrick & Tadelis, Steven, 2001. "Incentives versus Transaction Costs: A Theory of Procurement Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 387-407, Autumn.
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