The “Ownership of the Firm” is a Myth (1975)

I am glad to report that the legal scholar, Jean-Philippe Robé, has independently discovered that the firm as a going concern is a creature of contract, not property (Robé, Jean-Philippe. 2011. “The Legal Structure of the Firm.” Accounting, Economics, and Law 1 (1): Article 5. Since a contractual fact-pattern is not ‘owned’, it follows that there is no ownership of the firm in that sense. Hence it is a good time to make available on this website my paper making this point 45 years ago. This paper was originally published in a journal: Ellerman, David. 1975. “The ‘Ownership of the Firm’ Is a Myth.” Administration and Society 7 (1 May): 27–42, and then we immediately reprinted in a collection of essays: Ellerman, David. 1975. “The ‘Ownership of the Firm’ Is a Myth.” In Organizational Democracy : Participation and Self-Management, edited by David Garson and Michael P. Smith. Beverly Hills CA: Sage Publications.

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