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Technical assets and property rights

  • Ugo Pagano


In standard neoclassical theory a double neutrality holds: the nature of the technical assets employed in production does not influence property rights and vice versa the property right structure does not influence the technology adopted by the organization. However, empirical evidence shows that changes in the technical assets employed in the economy have an important role on the evolution of its property right structure and that, vice versa, the characteristics of the owning and controlling agents influence the nature of the resources employed in production. New Institutional economics has offered a powerful rationale for the first direction of causation: in a world of positive transaction costs, property rights will tend to be acquired by the most specific and different to monitor technical assets because they can save more on agency costs when they control the organization. However, as some radical economists have emphasized the opposite direction of causation is also highly plausible: when some agents have rights on a firm the specificity and monitoring costs of their assets tends to be dramatically reduced. By integrating these two direction of causation in a single concept of organizational equilibrium, it is possible to explain the multiplicity of varieties of capitalism and to make some hypothesis on some recent global trends, such as the increasing reification of intellectual capital and the growing financialization of the world economy

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Siena in its series Department of Economics University of Siena with number 657.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:657
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