The Mechanisms of Governance

The Mechanisms of Governance

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New Institutional Economics is a new way to look at how organizations function. Rather than seeing the firm as a "black box", Williamson shows how decision makers respond to economic factors WITHIN the firm - what he calls "transaction cost economics" (TCE). In this series of studies, Williamson shows how complexity expands in organizations because of bounded rationality and opportunism; that is the "bad news" of his message. The "good news" is that individuals within organizations become perceptive of resulting hazards they may and do encounter, and are adept at fashioning their organizations to cope creatively with difficult situations. This creativity accounts for diversity among organizations, in which governance structures are adapted to firm - or industry-specific more

Product details

  • Hardback | 442 pages
  • 163.6 x 240.8 x 34mm | 781.31g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • line figures
  • 0195078241
  • 9780195078244
  • 1,476,245

Review quote

These papers have been slightly modified and linking passages have been added to them to impose a sort of unity on them. The book is therefore an extremely convenient collection on the overall theory and some of the applications of transaction cost economics as understood by the leading exponent of those economics ... it is on the understanding of the existence of the firm and its behaviour that he has made his greatest mark ... I believe that what is read will speak for itself and for good law and economics more eloquently than I can manage here. * Journal of Law and Society *show more

About Oliver E. Williamson

Oliver E. Williamson is the Edgar F. Kaiser Professor of Business, Professor of Economics, and Professor of Law at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of numerous works in which law, economics, and organization are more

Back cover copy

This book brings together in one place the work of one of our most respected economic theorists, on a field in which he has played a large part in originating: the New Institutional Economics. Transaction cost economics, which studies the governance of contractual relations, is the branch of the New Institutional Economics with which Oliver Williamson is especially associated. Transaction cost economics takes issue with one of the fundamental building blocks in microeconomics: the theory of the firm. Whereas orthodox economics describes the firm in technological terms, as a production function, transaction cost economics describes the firm in organizational terms, as a governance structure. Alternative feasible forms of organization - firms, markets, hybrids, bureaus - are examined comparatively. The analytical action resides in the details of transactions and the mechanisms of governance. Transaction cost economics has had a pervasive influence on current economic thought about how and why institutions function as they do, and it has become a practical framework for research in organizations by representatives of a variety of disciplines. Through a transaction cost analysis, The Mechanisms of Governance shows how and why simple contracts give way to complex contracts and internal organization as the hazards of contracting build up. That complicates the study of economic organization, but a richer and more relevant theory of organization is the result. Many testable implications and lessons for public policy accrue to this framework. Applications of both kinds are numerous and more

Table of contents

Prologue ; PART I: OVERVIEW ; 2. Chester Barnard and the Incipient Science of Organization ; 3. Transaction Cost Economics ; PART II: CONCEPTS AND APPLICATIONS ; 4. Comparative Economic Organization: The Analysis of Discrete Strucutural Alternatives ; 5. Credible Commitments: Using Hostages to Support Exchange ; 6. Economic Institutions: Spontaneous and Intentional Governance ; 7. Corporate Finance and Corporate Governance ; 8. The Politics and Economics of Redistribution and Inefficiency ; PART III: ORGANIZATIONS ; 9. Transaction Cost Economics and Organization Theory ; 10. Calculativeness, Trust, and Economic Organization ; PART IV: PUBLIC POLICY ; 11. Delimiting Antitrust ; 12. Strategizing, Economizing, and Economic Organization ; 13. The Institutions and Governance of Economic Development and Reform ; PART V: CONTROVERSY AND PERSPECTIVES ; 14. Transaction Cost Economics Meets Posnerian Law and Economics ; 15. Transaction Cost Economics and the Evolving Science of Organization ; Glossaryshow more

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21 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
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3 24% (5)
2 19% (4)
1 0% (0)
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