Power in a Theory of the Firm
47 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2000 Last revised: 23 Feb 2022
Date Written: November 1997
Transactions take place in the firm rather than in the market because the firm offers agents" who make specific investments power. Past literature emphasizes the allocation of ownership as the" primary mechanism by which the firm does this. Within the contractibility assumptions of this" literature, we identify a potentially superior mechanism, the regulation of access to critical resources. " Access can be better than ownership because: i) the power agents get from access is more contingent" on them making the right investment; ii) ownership has adverse effects on the incentive to specialize. " The theory explains the importance of internal organization and third party ownership. "
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