DP3441 | Insurance and Information: Firms as a Commitment Device

Publication Date

20/07/2002

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Abstract

We explore the role of firms in insuring risk-averse workers. As a device that allows workers to commit to the delivery of their output, the firm arises endogenously as an alternative to the spot market if workers are sufficiently risk averse and the firm can base incentive payments on good information. Competition, however, may allow the spot market and explicit contracts to crowd out implicit insurance provided by the firm, even though the latter yields higher welfare. We explain why different governance structures coexist in quite homogeneous industries.