Institutionalists, Neoclassicals, and Team Production

19 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2005

See all articles by Margaret M. Blair

Margaret M. Blair

Vanderbilt University - Law School

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Although for most of the twentieth century, mainstream neoclassical economists treated "labor" inputs into production as if they consisted of small, identical units that could be added to or subtracted from the production process to achieve efficiency, some "institutionalists" continued to study the messy historical and case-specific facts of how workers are hired, managed, and compensated. For decades, such economists have been marginalized within the discipline. But in the last few decades, a few ideas have come out of the stylized logic of neoclassical reasoning that seem destined to lead to a renewed interest among mainstream economists in the work of institutionalists. This essay briefly summarizes and reviews those ideas.

Keywords: Institutionalism, team production, marginal value, labor, human capital, industrial relations, theory of the firm, contractarianism, agency theory, asset specificity, captial lock-in, boards of directors

Suggested Citation

Blair, Margaret M., Institutionalists, Neoclassicals, and Team Production. Available at SSRN:

Margaret M. Blair (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

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