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The ultimate control group

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  • Dow, Gregory K.

Abstract

Empirical research on the organization of firms requires that firms be classified on the basis of their control structures. This should be done in a way that can potentially be made operational. It is easy to identify the ultimate controller of a hierarchical organization, and the literature has largely focused on this case. But many organizational structures mix hierarchy with collective choice procedures such as voting, or use circular structures under which superiors are accountable to their subordinates. I develop some analytic machinery that can be used to map the authority structures of such organizations, and show that under mild restrictions there is a well-defined ultimate control group. The results are consistent with common intuitions about the nature of control in some familiar economic settings.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 49 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 39-49

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:49:y:2002:i:1:p:39-49

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References

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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
  2. Qian, Yingyi, 1994. "Incentives and Loss of Control in an Optimal Hierarchy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 527-44, July.
  3. Dow, Gregory K. & Putterman, Louis, 2000. "Why capital suppliers (usually) hire workers: what we know and what we need to know," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 319-336, November.
  4. Bowles, Samuel & Gintis, Herbert, 1993. "A Political and Economic Case for the Democratic Enterprise," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(01), pages 75-100, April.
  5. Katzner, Donald W., 1992. "The structure of authority in the firm," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 41-67, September.
  6. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  7. Baker, George & Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1999. "Informal Authority in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 56-73, April.
  8. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Gregory K. Dow, 2000. "Allocating Control Over Firms: Stock Markets Versus Membership Markets," Discussion Papers dp00-03, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, revised Feb 2000.
  10. repec:fth:simfra:00-3 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Dow, G.L., 1999. "On the Neutrality of Asset Ownership for Work Incentives," Discussion Papers dp99-1, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
  12. Raaj Kumar Sah & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1984. "The Architecture of Economic Systems: Hierarchies and Polyarchies," NBER Working Papers 1334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Raaj Kumar Sah, 1991. "Fallibility in Human Organizations and Political Systems," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 67-88, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. Avner Ben-Ner & Matthew Ellman, 2013. "The contributions of behavioural economics to understanding and advancing the sustainability of worker cooperatives," Journal of Entrepreneurial and Organizational Diversity, European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises, vol. 2(1), pages 75-100, August.

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