Patrick W. Schmitz
Economics Letters, Vol. 119 (3), 2013, 336-339.
Abstract. We reconsider the property rights approach to the theory of the firm based on incomplete contracts. We explore the implications of different degrees of relationship-specificity when there are two parties, A and B, who can make investments in physical capital (instead of human capital). If relationship-specificity is exogenously given, it turns out that joint asset ownership can be optimal only if the degree of relationship-specificity is sufficiently small. If relationship-specificity can be freely chosen and if party A`s investments are more productive, then the parties deliberately choose a strictly positive level of relationship-specificity and they always agree on sole ownership by party A.
The working paper version is available for download (CEPR Discussion Paper 9396).
The paper is available for download.