Handbook of Economic Organization
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Handbook of Economic Organization

Integrating Economic and Organization Theory

Edited by Anna Grandori

This comprehensive and groundbreaking Handbook integrates economic and organization theories to help elucidate the design and evolution of economic organization. Economic organization is regarded both as a subject of inquiry and as an emerging disciplinary field in its own right, integrating insights from economics, organization theory, strategy and management, economic sociology and congnitive psychology. The contributors, who share this integrated approach, are distinguished scholars at the productive peak in their fields. Each original, state-of-the art chapter not only addresses foundational issues, but also identifies key issues for future research.
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Chapter 15: Human capital and property rights

Anna Grandori


The chapter reviews of some key classics in economics and some main relevant modern organizational perspectives, on the relationship between human capital (HC) and property rights (PR). The review leads to a typology linking the features of HC used or invested and the rights they should give origin to. The review also leads to identifying some types of HC investments that are neglected in the former literature, in which therefore the rights to be assigned to HC providers are generally under-recognized. This neglect has implications for economic theory as it is rooted in the long-lasting assumption of the inseparability of people from their human capital and of HC ‘inalienability’. An innovative point of the chapter is to endogenize this assumption and to transform it into a variable. Some pertinent qualitative and quantitative evidence, both already published and original – on firm founding contract negotiations, on the internal organization of new economy firms, and on inter-firm knowledge-intensive collaboration con tracts – supporting the typology is provided.

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