Managerial Leverage Is Limited by the Extent of the Market: Hierarchies, Specialization, and the Utilization of Lawyers' Human Capital
AbstractThis paper examines the role of hierarchies in the organization of human-capital-intensive production. We develop an equilibrium model of hierarchical organization and provide empirical evidence based on confidential data on thousands of law offices. The equilibrium assignment of individuals to hierarchical positions varies with the degree of field specialization, which increases as the extent of the market increases. As individuals' knowledge becomes narrower but deeper, managerial leverage--the number of workers per manager--optimally increases to exploit this depth. Consistent with our model, the share of lawyers who work in hierarchies and the ratio of associates to partners increase as market size increases and lawyers field specialize. Other results provide evidence against alternative interpretations that emphasize unobserved differences in the distribution of demand, or firm-size effects, and lend additional support to the view that, in legal services, hierarchies help exploit increasing returns associated with the utilization of human capital.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law and Economics.
Volume (Year): 50 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/
Other versions of this item:
- Garicano, Luis & Hubbard, Thomas, 2005. "Managerial Leverage is Limited By the Extent of the Market: Hierarchies, Specialization and the Utilization of Lawyers' Human Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 4924, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
- L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
- L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
- L84 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Personal, Professional, and Business Services
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