Understanding Ownership: Residual Rights of Control and Appropriable Control Rights

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    We discuss the notion of ownership in economics, taking our point of departure in the Grossman-Hart-Moore property rights approach. We criticize the exclusive identification of ownership with residual rights to control in this approach, and argue that economic organization may be rendered determinate under complete contracting (contrary to the GHM approach). Crucially, we argue that under complete contracting, some control rights may be appropriable because of measurement and enforcement costs. This holds the key to a theory of ownership that is not dependent on the notion of residual rights to control, but rather relies on appropriable control rights. However, the two perspectives may be complementary rather than rival.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
    PublisherDRUID - Danish Research Unit for Industrial Dynamics
    Number of pages29
    ISBN (Print)8778730457
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 1999
    SeriesDRUID Working Paper


    • Ownership
    • Property rights
    • Complete and incomplete contracts

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