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On Group Stability in Hierarchies and Networks

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  • Gabrielle Demange

Abstract

A hierarchical structure is a widespread organizational form in many areas. My aim in this paper is to provide a rationale for this fact based on two premises. First, a group organizes itself so as to achieve efficient coordination. Second, efficient coordination is achieved only if subgroups as well as individuals agree to cooperate. Even in situations in which there are gains to coordination, the agreement of each possible subgroup may be impossible to reach, resulting in instabilities. I argue that a hierarchical organization avoids such instabilities by distributing in an optimal way autonomy and blocking power to a restricted set of subgroups. Comparisons with nondirected networks are drawn.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 112 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 754-778

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:112:y:2004:i:4:p:754-778

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  1. Salvador Barberà & Lars Ehlers, 2011. "Free triples, large indifference classes and the majority rule," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 559-574, October.
  2. Sah, Raaj Kumar & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1986. "The Architecture of Economic Systems: Hierarchies and Polyarchies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 716-27, September.
  3. Martin Shubik, 1962. "Incentives, Decentralized Control, the Assignment of Joint Costs and Internal Pricing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 8(3), pages 325-343, April.
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  5. Alfred D. Chandler, 1969. "Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262530090, January.
  6. Guesnerie, Roger & Oddou, Claude, 1988. " Increasing Returns to Size and Their Limits," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 90(3), pages 259-73.
  7. Saijo, Tatsuyoshi, 1988. "Strategy Space Reduction in Maskin's Theorem: Sufficient Conditions for Nash Implementation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(3), pages 693-700, May.
  8. Debraj Ray & Rajiv Vohra, 2001. "Coalitional Power and Public Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(6), pages 1355-1384, December.
  9. Yi, Sang-Seung, 1997. "Stable Coalition Structures with Externalities," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 201-237, August.
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