The economic theory of the labor‐managed firm dates back 60 years. Here I review the intellectual history of this field, with critical remarks and proposals for future development. The decades of the 1960s–1980s saw a burst of theoretical speculation that generally did not hold up well under empirical scrutiny. By the 1990s, progress on the mainstream theory of the firm was overtaking some of this early research. At the same time, a growing body of econometric work on labor‐managed firms was providing new stylized facts for theorists to explain. While the earlier period was characterized by an excess supply of theories relative to facts, more recently the balance has begun to tip in the opposite direction. I close by suggesting new theoretical directions that might shed light on the empirical asymmetries between capital‐managed and labor‐managed firms.
Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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