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