The "Fundamental Transformation" in Macroeconomics
NBER Working Paper No. 5471
When factors enter into joint-production, they typically develop a degree of specificity with respect to each other. It is well known that, when combined with contracting difficulties, specificity gives rise to a Williamsonian 'Fundamental Transformation' from an ex-ante competitive relationship to an ex-post bilateral monopoly. The macroeconomic consequences of widespread specificity are far-reaching. Specificity results in misallocation, underutilization, and unemployment of the economy's productive factors; it hampers growth by depressing the incentives to replace what is outdated and to fully utilize the economy's resources; it disrupts macroeconomic adjustment by inducing a wedge between timid creation and excessive destruction of the old system; and it exacerbates downturns by `elastifying' the cyclical response of inelastic factors.
Published: American Economic Review, papers and proceedings, 86(2) may 1996