DIREITOS DE PROPRIEDADE E A EFICIÊNCIA ALOCATIVA: Com Coase, Além de Coase (Alchian, Demsetz e cia)— Ihering Guedes Alcoforado

Esta nota introduz a visão de Coase dos Direitos de Propriedade e, seu desdobramento no campo econômico, a partir da mediação de Alchian e Demsetz. Objetivo é evidenciar suas limitações no que se refere a promoção da eficiência, dado que se limita a promoção da eficiência alocativa, comprometendo os incentivos referentes a eficiência dos investimentos. Com este objetivo a nota consta desta introdução mais duas partes e uma conclusão.

Na primeira parte apresento de forma sucinta a relevância da forma original como Coase apreende a realidade e das implicações dela decorrente. Na segunda parte, mostro que, a despeito das limitações da sua apreensão e tratamento da propriedade, sua forma de apreender a realidade influenciou os dois autores que estabeleceram o campo de estudos econômicos da propriedade no campo econômico: Alchian e Demsetz.

Por fim, analiso as as influências do regimes de propriedade (e de contrato) nos arranjos organizacionais que são em última instância um mecanismo de alocação e consequentemente de obtenção da eficiênica alocativa. As restrições inerentes ao modelo convencional da negociação coseana, leva a um ajuste do direito de propriedade na âmbito da relação contratual, ou seja, desloca a transação envolvendo o direito de propriedade da esfera pública, para a esfera privada.

  1. A visão do mundo de Ronald Coase

“Ronald Coase changed how people view the world. Coase understood that
his ideas were unique, writing that “most economists have a different way
of looking at economic problems and do not share my conception of the
nature of our subject” (Coase 1988: 1). With his unique perspective, he saw
problems others did not see and analyzed them in ways that had a lasting
effect on the field ofeconomics. His scholarship also led to the birth of the
new fields of law and economics and the new institutional economics and
influenced the direction of property rights research”[DROBAK, 2016:83]

2. A Contribuição de Ronald Coase a Compreensão dos Direitos de Propriedade

“The Nobel Prize Committee mentioned Coase’s contribution to the
understanding of property rights when it announced his Nobel Prize. Yet
Coase wrote very little about the meaning of property rights and about
the ways property rights should be structured. Mostly he assumed that
property rights already existed or that courts would define property rights
as the need arose. Coase had little interest in defining property rights; he
cared about who owned the rights, how they were used, and how they were
regulated. He was a practical scholar who tried to understand how the
world really worked […] He was not concerned with the
theoretical nature of property rights, but about how property rights are
used. Coase’s emphasis on the use of property rights was the foundation
for his most influential scholarship.” [DROBAK, 2016:83]

3. Os Insghts de Coase nos Fundamentos da Economia dos Direitos de Propriedade (Armen Alchian e Harold Demsetz)

Since many consider Armen Alchian and Harold Demsetz, along with Coase, to be the founders of the economic study of property rights, it is useful to see how their research builds upon Coase’s and how their interests extend beyond
the topics that interested Coase.” [DROBAK, 2016:90]

3.1 Os Fundadores do Estudo da Propriedade no Campo Econômico: Armen Alchian eHarold Demsetz

3.1.1 Armen Alchian

a) The Enforcement of Property Right

With his concern for such things as institutions and incentives, Alchian’s
study of property rights bears the hallmark of someone who works in
the field of the new institutional economics. Hence his emphasis on the
importance of the government’s enforcement of rights in this definition of
property rights:

@By a system of property rights, I mean a method of assigning to particular
individuals the “authority” to select, for specific goods, any use from a nonprohibited class of uses. As suggested in the preceding remarks, the concepts of “authority” and of “nonprohibited” rely on some concept of enforcement and inducement to respect the assignment and scope of prohibited choice. A property right for me means some protection against other people’s choosing against my will one of the uses of resources, said to be “mine”. (Alchian 1965: 54)@ . [DROBAK, 2016:90]

b) Various Incentives, Different Forms of Ownership

“In his scholarship, Alchian analyzed the various incentives that result
from different forms of ownership
; but not just public versus private.
He was interested in the economic benefits of the shared uses of a parcel
of land, which he referred to as the partitioning of rights. Like Coase,
Alchian was more interested in property rights as commercial rights that
could be traded, partitioned, or used for economic purposes than in the
creation and evolution of rights. This led Alchian to follow the lead of
Coase to investigate the importance of transaction costs and to consider
shared rights in various forms of organization.” [DROBAK, 2016: 91]

c) Property, Contract and Opportunistic Behavior: The holdup problem

“Alchian is also known for his use of opportunistic behavior and moral
(see, e.g., Alchian and Demsetz 1972). He explained how transaction costs that arise from moral hazard “are ultimately related to those
emanating from the problems of hold up: both arise because cognitive
limits create in contracts a certain ‘plasticity’ that allows conduct ex post
to deviate from what was agreed upon ex ante” (Langlois 1998: 9). This
idea was not only important for contract scholars, it is also at the heart of
his influential article (with Klein and Crawford) about the holdup that can
result from specialized assets, “Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents,
and the Competitive Contracting Process”. […14 That article had a strong influence on my attempts to understand when the constitution
should limit various forms of price regulation (see Drobak 1986: 125–8 and nn. 83–9). Coase was critical of the best-known example used to illustrate the hold-up hypothesis, General Motor’s acquisition of Fisher Body (Coase 2000) …] The recognition of how
parties to a contract can expropriate “quasi-rents” prompted literature
on vertical integration and long term contracts as a way to resolve this
problem (Eggertsson 1990: 174–5). Alchian’s breadth of intellectual curiosity and the range of topics he tackled is an impressive accomplishment. 15
For example, how many scholars have attempted to apply property rights
to academic tenure, as Alchian did in “Private Property and the Relative
Cost of Tenure” (Alchian 1959)? This wide scope of research helped
Alchian reach scholars working in vastly different fields.
” [DROBAK, 2016: 91]

3.1.2 De Ronald Coase ( the consequences that followed from an existing private-ownership system,) à Harold Demsetz (to explain why such a system would come into existence.

“People often identify Coase with only two articles, “The Nature of the
Firm” and “The Problem of Social Cost”, although, as this chapter has
shown, many of his other writings are insightful and extremely influential.
Ironically, Demsetz’s reputation among property rights scholars comes
from only one article, “Toward a Theory of Property Rights” (Demsetz
1967: 347). Demsetz has explained how his article followed Coase’s scholarship. He started by pointing out that the economics profession disregarded issues involving the ownership of property for over a century and a half while at the same time economists were making great strides in other
aspects of economic theory. [DROBAK, 2016: 91]

@ [Coase brought] ownership out of the shadows by discussing the consequences of alternating the person, as between those involved in externality-type interactions, who is held liable for damages. Seven years later, my article “Toward a Theory of Property Rights” took a different approach from Coase’s. a) Whereas Coase’s work examined the consequences that followed from an existing private-ownership system, b) I sought to explain why such a system would come into existence. (Demsetz 2002: S655) [DROBAK, 2016: 91/92]

4. OS NOVOS DESDOBRAMENTOS: Da Propriedade aos Limites da Firma

Analisa as influências do regimes de propriedade (e de contrato) nos arranjos organizacionais que são em última instância um mecanismo de alocação e consequentemente de obtenção da eficiênica alocativa. As restrições inerentes ao modelo convencional da negociação coseana, leva a um ajuste do direito de propriedade na âmbito da relação contratual.


Uma vertente que se assenta em Williamson (1975, 1985) e Klein, Crawford, and Alchian (1978), com desdobramentos em Grossman e Hart (1986), Hart e Moore (1990), Hart (1995),

“ [….] has developed that argues that the boundaries of firms — and the allocation of asset ownership — can be understood in terms of incomplete contracts and property rights. The basic idea behind the literature is that firm boundaries define the allocation of residual control rights, and these matter in a world of incomplete contracts. In the standard property rights model, parties write contracts that are ex ante incomplete but can be completed ex post. The ability to exercise residual control rights improves the ex post bargaining position of an asset owner and thereby increases his or her incentive to make relationship-specific investments. As a consequence, it is optimal to assign asset ownership to those who have the most important relationship-specific investments.1 [HART & HOLMSTRONG, 2010: 483/484

a) Restrições (Os conflitos ex-post não resolvidos por meio da barganha)

Although the property rights approach provides a clear explanation of the costs and benefits of integration, the theory has
a number of features that have limited its applicability.[[Holmstrom e Roberts, 1998; Holmstrom, 1999]] One that
we focus on here is the assumption that ex post conflicts are resolved through bargaining with side payments. Although direct
empirical evidence on this topic is not readily available, casual
inspection suggests that bargaining with unrestricted side payments is not ubiquitous. Many decisions made in a firm will be carried out without consultation or negotiation with other firms even when these decisions impact the other firms in a major way. It is rare, for instance, for a firm to go to a competitor with the intention of extracting side payments for avoiding aggressive moves. [… Of course, where there is an opportunity for mutual gains, a firm may approach another firm to explore various ways of cooperating, either through the market or through a joint venture or merger. However, it is also possible that the parties will simply do what is unilaterally in their best interest …3] [HART & HOLMSTRONG, 2010:484

3.1.4 A NOVA TEORIA DOS LIMITES DA FIRMA: O Approach dos contratos como “reference points”

“ We present a new model of firm boundaries, which is designed
to deal with strategic decisions that are taken in the absence of ex
post bargaining. To justify the use of authority rather than bargaining, we adopt the “contracts as reference points” approach of
Hart and Moore (2008). According to this approach, a contract (in
our model, an organizational form), negotiated under competitive
conditions, circumscribes or delineates parties’ senses of entitlement
. Parties do not feel entitled to outcomes outside the contract,
but may have different views of what they are entitled to within
the contract. More specifically, each side interprets the contract
in a way that is most favorable to him. When he does not get the
most favored outcome within the contract, he feels aggrieved and
shades by performing in a perfunctory rather than a consummate
fashion, creating deadweight losses. Given these assumptions, a
more open-ended contract leads to more aggrievement, implying that ex post bargaining with side payments is costly. [… For a discussion, see Hart (2008) … ]4 We rule out renegotiation on these grounds.” 484/485


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