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Transaction-Specific Investments and Organizational Choice: A Coase-to-Coase Theory

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  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

This paper examines markets, firms, and the law as alternative institutional arrangements for organizing transactions that involve transaction-specific investments and uncertain performance. The analysis is the logical extension of Coase’s seminal analysis of the market-firm boundary on one hand, and the market-law boundary on the other. It thus combines insights from the literature on industrial organization and law and economics. The result is a unified framework that reveals the relative advantages and disadvantages, within a fairly simple economic setting, of market exchange, court ordering (contracts), and internal governance (agency).

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas J. Miceli, 2014. "Transaction-Specific Investments and Organizational Choice: A Coase-to-Coase Theory," Working papers 2014-06, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2014-06
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    File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/2014-06.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 2005. "Contract Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262025760, January.
    2. 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 1119-1158, December.
    3. William P. Rogerson, 1984. "Efficient Reliance and Damage Measures for Breach of Contract," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 39-53, Spring.
    4. Oliver Hart, 2011. "Thinking about the Firm: A Review of Daniel Spulber's The Theory of the Firm," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 101-113, March.
    5. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-261, October.
    6. White, Michelle J, 1988. "Contract Breach and Contract Discharge Due to Impossibility: A Unified Theory," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 353-376, June.
    7. Steven Shavell, 1980. "Damage Measures for Breach of Contract," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(2), pages 466-490, Autumn.
    8. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
    9. Ilya Segal, 1999. "Complexity and Renegotiation: A Foundation for Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 57-82.
    10. Edlin, Aaron S & Reichelstein, Stefan, 1996. "Holdups, Standard Breach Remedies, and Optimal Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 478-501, June.
    11. Victor P. Goldberg, 1976. "Regulation and Administered Contracts," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 7(2), pages 426-448, Autumn.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asset specificity; contracts; firms; holdup problem; market exchange;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • K12 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Contract Law
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure

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