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THE ‘REFERENCE POINT’ APPROACH TO THE THEORY OF THE FIRM: AN INTRODUCTION

Authors

  • Paul Walker


Abstract

There is a small but growing literature on the ‘reference point’ approach to incomplete contracts as formulated by Hart and Moore. The reference point approach has begun to be applied to the theory of the firm in 3 recent papers. This introduction reviews the main theoretical aspects of each of these papers. It then discusses the relationship between the reference point approach to the firm, the transaction cost approach and the property rights approach. Here it is argued that the reference point approach is a step back towards ex post inefficiencies, away from reliance on ex ante inefficiencies.

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