Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Applied Economics

First Advisor

Thomas Donaldson


In my dissertation, I examine issues related to markets and hierarchies, which are core conceptual building blocks for economic theories of the firm, from a moral point of view.

The first essay engages with economic theories of the firm and argues that there is a tension between the two primary metaphors – contracts and hierarchies – utilized by economists to describe the nature and purpose of the firm.

The second essay provides a moral reason for drawing the distinction between markets and firms in the first place. It argues that the principle of fair play justifies the adoption of a proposed three-part test for employee classification based on economic theories of entrepreneurship.

The third essay applies the insights from the first two chapters by arguing that stakeholder theory should pay greater attention to the contract metaphor within theories of the firm.