Organization and Information: Firms' Governance Choices in Rational-Expectations Equilibrium
with Robert Gibbons and Richard Holden
We analyze a rational-expectations model of price formation in an intermediate-good market under uncertainty. There is a continuum of firms, each consisting of a party who can reduce production cost and a party who can discover information about demand. Both parties can make specific investments at private cost, and there is a machine that either party can control. As in incomplete-contracting models, different governance structures (i.e., different allocations of control of the machine) create different incentives for the parties' investments. As in rational-expectations models, some parties may invest in acquiring information, which is then incorporated into the market-clearing price of the intermediate good by these parties' production decisions. The informativeness of the price mechanism affects the returns to specific investments and hence the optimal governance structure for individual firms; meanwhile, the governance choices by individual firms affect the informativeness of the price mechanism. In equilibrium, the informativeness of the price mechanism can induce ex ante homogeneous firms to choose heterogeneous governance structures.