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Universität zu Köln
Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät

Staatswissenschaftliches Seminar - Prof. Schmitz

Information Gathering, Transaction Costs, and the Property Rights Approach

Patrick W. Schmitz

American Economic Review, Vol. 96 (1), 2006, 422-434.

Abstract. The property rights approach to the theory of the firm suggests that ownership structures are chosen in order to provide ex ante investment incentives, while bargaining is ex post efficient. In contrast, transaction cost economics emphasizes ex post inefficiencies. In the present paper, a party may invest and acquire private information about the default payoff that it can realize on its own. Inefficient rent seeking can overturn prominent implications of the property rights theory. In particular, ownership by party B may be optimal, even though only the indispensable party A makes an investment decision.

The working paper version is available for download (CEPR Discussion Paper 5417).

Another working paper version is available for download at SSRN.

The paper is available for download.