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Business and Politics

Editor-in-Chief: Aggarwal, Vinod K.

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Transaction Cost Economics: An Assessment of Empirical Research in the Social Sciences

Jeffrey T Macher1 / Barak D Richman2

1Robert E. McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University

2Duke University School of Law

Citation Information: Business and Politics. Volume 10, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1469-3569, DOI: 10.2202/1469-3569.1210, May 2008

Publication History

Published Online:
2008-05-22

This paper provides a comprehensive review of the empirical literature in transaction cost economics (TCE) across multiple social science disciplines and business fields. We show how TCE has branched out from its economic roots to examine empirical phenomena in several other areas. We find TCE is increasingly being applied not only to business-related fields such as accounting, finance, marketing, and organizational theory, but also to areas outside of business including political science, law, public policy, and agriculture and health. With few exceptions, however, the use of TCE reasoning to inform empirical research in these areas is piecemeal. We find that there is considerable support of many of the central tenets of TCE, but we also observe a number of lingering theoretical and empirical issues that need to be addressed. We conclude by discussing the implications of these issues and outlining directions for future theoretical and empirical work.

Keywords: institutional economics; transaction cost economics; empirical social sciences

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