Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

The distinct effects of Information Technology and Communication Technology on firm organization

Contents:

Author Info

  • Nicholas Bloom
  • Luis Garicano
  • Raffaella Sadun
  • John Van Reenen

Abstract

Empirical studies on information communication technologies (ICT) typically aggregate the "information" and "communication" components together. We show theoretically and empirically that these have very different effects on the empowerment of employees, and by extension on wage inequality. If managerial hierarchies are devices to acquire and transmit knowledge and information, technologies that reduce information costs enable agents to acquire more knowledge and 'empower' lower level agents. Conversely, technologies reducing communication costs substitute agent's knowledge for directions from their managers, and lead to centralization. Using an original dataset of firms in the US and seven European countries we study the impact of ICT on worker autonomy, plant manager autonomy and spans of control. Consistently with the theory we find that better information technologies (Enterprise Resource Planning for plant managers and CAD/CAM for production workers) are associated with more autonomy and a wider span of control. By contrast, communication technologies (like data networks) decrease autonomy for both workers and plant managers. Our findings are robust to using exogenous variation in cross-country telecommunication costs arising from differential regulatory regimes.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14975.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14975.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: May 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14975

Note: IO LS PR
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Email:
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Larry W. Hunter & Annette Bernhardt & Katherine L. Hughes & Eva Skuratowicz, 2000. "It's Not Just the ATMs: Technology, Firm Strategies, Jobs, and Earnings in Retail Banking," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 00-31, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 1997. "How to Compete: The Impact of Workplace Practices and Information Technology on Productivity," NBER Working Papers 6120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. P. Aubert & E. Caroli & M. Roger, 2004. "New Technologies, Workplace Organisation and the Age Structure of the Workforce: Firm-Level Evidence," Documents de Travail de la DESE - Working Papers of the DESE g2004-07, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, DESE.
  4. 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.
  5. Nick Bloom & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Americans Do I.T. Better: US Multinationals and the Productivity Miracle," CEP Discussion Papers dp0788, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. D, Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Claire Lelarge & John Van Reenen & Fabrizzio Zilibotti, 2006. "Technology, Information and the Decentralization of the Firm," Working Papers 2006-12, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  7. Jacques Crémer & Luis Garicano & Andrea Prat, 2007. "Language and the Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 373-407, 02.
  8. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1996. "Financial Dependence and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5758, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 1999. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1999. "On the Design of Hierarchies: Coordination Versus Specialization," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 375, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  12. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2001. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 8337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2005. "Organization and Inequality in a Knowledge Economy," NBER Working Papers 11458, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Stephen Machin & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Changes in Wage Inequality," CEP Special Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  15. Mirko Draca & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Productivity and ICT: A Review of the Evidence," CEP Discussion Papers dp0749, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  16. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-28, June.
  17. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 1996. "The firm as a communication network," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9597, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  18. Nicholas Bloom & Mirko Draca & John Van Reenen, 2011. "Trade Induced Technical Change? The Impact of Chinese Imports on Innovation, IT and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 16717, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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.
  20. Raghuram Rajan & Julie Wulf, 2003. "The Flattening Firm: Evidence from Panel Data on the Changing Nature of Corporate Hierarchies," NBER Working Papers 9633, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Nahum D. Melumad & Dilip Mookherjee & Stefan Reichelstein, 1995. "Hierarchical Decentralization of Incentive Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 654-672, Winter.
  22. Maria Guadalupe & Julie Wulf, 2008. "The Flattening Firm and Product Market Competition: The Effect of Trade Liberalization," NBER Working Papers 14491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Lemieux, Thomas & MacLeod, W. Bentley & Parent, Daniel, 2007. "Performance Pay and Wage Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 2850, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Dessein, Wouter, 2002. "Authority and Communication in Organizations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(4), pages 811-38, October.
  25. Ghazala Azmat & Alan Manning & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Privatization, Entry Regulation and the Decline of Labor's Share of GDP: A Cross-Country Analysis of the Network Industries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0806, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  26. Alonso, Ricardo & Dessein, Wouter & Matouschek, Niko, 2006. "When Does Coordination Require Centralization?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5802, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  27. Massimo G. Colombo & Marco Delmastro, 2004. "Delegation of Authority In Business Organizations: An Empirical Test," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 53-80, 03.
  28. Olivier Blanchard, 2004. "The Economic Future of Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 3-26, Fall.
  29. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
  30. Baron, David P & Besanko, David, 1992. "Information, Control, and Organizational Structure," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(2), pages 237-75, Summer.
  31. Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen & Nick Bloom, 2008. "Measuring And Explaining Decentralization Across Firms And Countries," 2008 Meeting Papers 246, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  32. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
  33. Radner, Roy, 1993. "The Organization of Decentralized Information Processing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1109-46, September.
  34. Luis Garicano, 2000. "Hierarchies and the Organization of Knowledge in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 874-904, October.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14975. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.