NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Organizational Economics (OE)

Robert Gibbons, Director

    Viewed broadly, the NBER's Working Group on Organizational Economics studies governed transactions (i.e., those that do not occur in frictionless markets). Naturally, the group's main focus is on transactions within firms. As a result, many of the group's members are drawn from the relevant margins of other NBER programs and working groups that study resource allocation and other processes within firms, such as Corporate Finance, Personnel Economics, and Productivity.

    The group is also pursuing a significant interest in governed transactions between firms, such as contracts, "hybrid" governance structures (e.g., alliances, joint ventures, networks, and so on), and activities that change firms' boundaries (e.g., start-ups, spin-offs, mergers, and so on). As a result, some of the group's members are drawn from the relevant margins of NBER programs and working groups such as Entrepreneurship, Industrial Organization, and International Trade and Organization.

    Finally, many of the principles that apply to governed transactions within and between firms also apply to other kinds of organizations and institutions, so the group is also pursuing a subsidiary interest in organizations such as schools, hospitals, government agencies, and beyond.

    The group began in Fall 2002 and is co-funded by MIT's Program on Innovation in Markets and Organizations. So far, we have convened annually for a two-day meeting involving about 15 papers, with comments by discussants.

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