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Knowledge Accumulation within an Organization

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  • Ngo Van Long
  • Antoine Soubeyran
  • Raphael Soubeyran

Abstract

We develop a simple model of task allocation for knowledge workers over their career within an organization. The human capital theory initiated by Becker (1962, 1964) has o¤ered a rich analysis of an individual’s life cycle investment in human capital. One of the main result of this literature states that human capital investments are undertaken at the early stage of the career because workers have then a longer period of time over which they can bene t from the return of their investments. In this paper, we consider a knowledge accumulation problem within an organization that cannot prevent the worker from quitting and using the knowledge outside the organization. In the rst best situation, we show a similar result as in the human capital theory, i.e. the share of time allocated to knowledge creation tasks decreases over time. We then ask how this pattern is a¤ected when the knowledge worker can leave the organization and bene t from this knowledge outside the organization. In this case, we obtain the novel result that the time path of the fraction of working time allocated to knowledge creation tasks is non-monotone. This fraction is highest at the early career stage, falls gradually, then rises again, before falling nally toward zero. We also show that an increase in the rm-speci city of knowledge can increase or decrease the life-time income of the knowledge worker.

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File URL: http://www.lameta.univ-montp1.fr/Documents/DR2012-03.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier in its series Working Papers with number 12-03.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision: Jan 2012
Handle: RePEc:lam:wpaper:12-03

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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," IDEI Working Papers 37, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. Felli, L. & Roberts, K., 2000. "Does Competition Solve the Hold-Up Problem?," Economics Papers 2000-w11, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  3. Hvide, Hans K & Kristiansen, Eirik Gaard, 2007. "Management of Knowledge Workers," CEPR Discussion Papers 6039, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Léonard,Daniel & Long,Ngo van, 1992. "Optimal Control Theory and Static Optimization in Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521331586, April.
  5. Chung, Tai-Yeong, 1991. "Incomplete Contracts, Specific Investments, and Risk Sharing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(5), pages 1031-42, October.
  6. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Legros & Steven A. Matthews, 2002. "Moral Hazard and Capital Structure Dynamics," Penn CARESS Working Papers dfdfbbfe0a5b0e04217a58a93, Penn Economics Department.
  7. Sergei Guriev & Dmitriy Kvasov, 2005. "Contracting on Time," Working Papers w0059, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  8. Pitchford, Rohan & Snyder, Christopher M., 2004. "A solution to the hold-up problem involving gradual investment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 88-103, January.
  9. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Smirnov, V. & Wait, A., 2001. "Timing of Investments, Hold-up and Total Welfare," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 808, The University of Melbourne.
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