The Corporation Is Not a Nexus of Contracts. It’s an iPhone
A dominant view in the Coasean law-and-economics tradition is that the firm (including in its form as the corporation) is nothing but a nexus of contracts: the firm is entirely a matter of contract law, and the corporate entity, the legal fiction of corporate personhood, is nothing but a name for a bundle of contracts. This view has implication both for the theory of the firm and for the political economy of the corporation – for the question of the “rights” of corporate entities. By asserting that the corporation is nothing but a set of contractual arrangements, the nexus-of-contracts view implies that any rights possessed by contracting individuals “pass through” to the corporation itself. Unsurprisingly, the powerful phalanx of writers who wish to limit the rights of the corporation take square and largely exclusive aim at the nexus-of-contracts view, assuming that arguments against that view are necessarily arguments against all kinds of “bottom up” accounts of the corporate form. I will argue that critics of the nexus-of-contracts view are indeed right in one sense (though by no means in every sense). Yet, despite this, the fact that the corporation cannot be constructed solely out of voluntary contract narrowly understood does not destroy the argument that the corporation is ultimately “nothing but” a form of cooperation among rights-holding individuals. The corporation understood from the perspective of property rights is both an object of ownership and a form of ownership. Much of the confusion in the literature arises from a procrustean attempt to appraise the corporation in light of simplified and partial accounts of the rights involved.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2016|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: University of Connecticut 365 Fairfield Way, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063|
Phone: (860) 486-4889
Fax: (860) 486-4463
Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2016-06. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark McConnel)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.