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Allocating Control Over Firms: Stock Markets Versus Membership Markets

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Abstract

The new institutional economics regards the firm as a set of incomplete contracts among input suppliers. The theory of the firm must therefore explain how decision-making powers are allocated. Two leading candidates for such control rights are capital suppliers and labor suppliers. Most large enterprises in developed economies award formal control to investors rather than workers. I suggest here that this asymmetry can be traced in part to differences between stock markets and membership markets as institutional mechanisms for allocating control over firms. The attractive theoretical properties of membership markets are examined, along with some factors that may account for their rarity in practice. These practical difficulties help explain the rarity of labor-managed firms themselves, along with various facts about their design, behavior, and distribution across industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregory K. Dow, 2000. "Allocating Control Over Firms: Stock Markets Versus Membership Markets," Discussion Papers dp00-03, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, revised Feb 2000.
  • Handle: RePEc:sfu:sfudps:dp00-03
    Note: An earlier draft was presented at the NBER Conference on "Shared Capitalism" in Washington, D.C. on May 22-23, 1998
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    Cited by:

    1. Patrick HERBST & Jens PRUFER, 2016. "Firms, Nonprofits, And Cooperatives: A Theory Of Organizational Choice," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 87(3), pages 315-343, December.
    2. Gabriel Burdín & Andrés Dean, 2009. "Las decisiones de empleo y salarios de cooperativas de trabajo y empresas capitalistas : evidencia para Uruguay en base a datos de panel," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 09-02, Instituto de Economía - IECON.
    3. Burdín, Gabriel & Dean, Andrés, 2009. "New evidence on wages and employment in worker cooperatives compared with capitalist firms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 517-533, December.
    4. Dow, Gregory K., 2002. "The ultimate control group," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 39-49, September.
    5. Burdín, Gabriel, 2013. "Are Worker-Managed Firms Really More Likely to Fail?," IZA Discussion Papers 7412, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Gabriel Burdín, 2014. "Are Worker-Managed Firms More Likely to Fail Than Conventional Enterprises? Evidence from Uruguay," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 67(1), pages 202-238, January.
    7. Brent Hueth & Philippe Marcoul & Roger G. Ginder, 2004. "Cooperative Formation and Financial Contracting in Agricultural Markets," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 03-wp349, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
    8. L.F.M. Groot & D.E. van der Linde, 2015. "The Labor Managed Firm: Permanent or Start Subsidies?," Working Papers 15-04, Utrecht School of Economics.
    9. Guillermo Alves & Gabriel Burdin & Paula Carrasco & Andrés Dean & Andrés Rius, 2012. "Empleo, remuneraciones e inversión en cooperativas de trabajadores y empresas convencionales: nueva evidencia para Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 12-14, Instituto de Economía - IECON.
    10. repec:spr:homoec:v:35:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s41412-018-0064-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Hueth, Brent & Marcoul, Philippe, 2007. "The Cooperative Firm as Monitored Credit," Staff Paper Series 508, University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unemployment Insurance; Experience Rating; Layoffs;

    JEL classification:

    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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