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Abstract

The value of the firm depends on the value of the transactions in which it participates. Which transactions the firm is able to effect depend on investments that are made beforehand. The most important of these, perhaps, are investments in human capital. Whether an individual invests in learning and the like (ie, human capital) depends on the costs of making such investments and the benefits she can reasonably anticipate. Which costs and benefits accrue to the individual depend on her ex post bargaining position, which is determined principally by the allocation of decision rights, and which financial flows are transferred with decision rights. This note develops a series of examples which illustrate how the distribution of ownership rights affects ex ante investments, which in turn determine the value of ex post transactions. The central point of this note can be summarized as follows: the value of the firm is sensitive to who owns it.

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Abstract

The value of the firm depends on the value of the transactions in which it participates. Which transactions the firm is able to effect depend on investments that are made beforehand. The most important of these, perhaps, are investments in human capital. Whether an individual invests in learning and the like (ie, human capital) depends on the costs of making such investments and the benefits she can reasonably anticipate. Which costs and benefits accrue to the individual depend on her ex post bargaining position, which is determined principally by the allocation of decision rights, and which financial flows are transferred with decision rights. This note develops a series of examples which illustrate how the distribution of ownership rights affects ex ante investments, which in turn determine the value of ex post transactions. The central point of this note can be summarized as follows: the value of the firm is sensitive to who owns it.

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