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The Economics of Organization: The Transaction Cost Approach

The transaction cost approach to the study of economic organization regards the transaction as the basic unit of analysis and holds that an understanding of transaction cost economizing is central to the study of organizations. Applications of this approach require that transactions be dimensionalized and that alternative governance structures be described. Economizing is accomplished by assigning transactions to governance structures in a discriminating way. The approach applies both to the determination of efficient boundaries, as between firms and markets, and to the organization of internal transactions, including the design of employment relations. The approach is compared and contrasted with selected parts of the organization theory literature.