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Incentives

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  • Eric Maskin
  • Yingyi Qian
  • Chenggang Xu

Abstract

We model organization as the command-and-communication network of managers erected on top of technology (which is modeled as a collection of plants). In our framework, the role of a manager is to deal with shocks that affect the plants that he oversees directly or indirectly. Organizational form is then an instrument for (a) economizing on managerial costs, and (b) providing managerial incentives. We show that two particular organizational forms, the M-form (multi-divisional form) and the U-form (unitary form), are the optimal structures when shocks are sufficiently "big". We argue however that, under certain empirical assumptions, the M-form is likely to be strictly preferable once incentives are taken into account. We conclude by showing that the empirical hypotheses on which this comparison rests are satisfied for Chinese data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0371.

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Date of creation: Oct 1997
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0371

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Andrei Shleifer, 1985. "A Theory of Yardstick Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(3), pages 319-327, Autumn.
  3. 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.
  4. Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
  6. Radner, Roy, 1993. "The Organization of Decentralized Information Processing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1109-46, September.
  7. Bolton, Patrick & Farrell, Joseph, 1990. "Decentralization, Duplication, and Delay," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 803-26, August.
  8. Calvo, Guillermo A & Wellisz, Stanislaw, 1978. "Supervision, Loss of Control, and the Optimum Size of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 943-52, October.
  9. Bengt Holmstrom, 1981. "Moral Hazard in Teams," Discussion Papers 471, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Aoki, Masahiko, 1986. "Horizontal vs. Vertical Information Structure of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 971-83, December.
  11. James A. Mirrlees, 1976. "The Optimal Structure of Incentives and Authority Within an Organization," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 7(1), pages 105-131, Spring.
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