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Incentives, Scale Economies, and Organizational Form

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  • Eric Maskin
  • Yingyi Quan
  • 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 (multidivisional 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 William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number 51.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: 01 May 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:1997-51

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Keywords: organizational reform; scale economies; incentives; yardstick competition; China;

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Cited by:
  1. Chen, Ye & Li, Hongbin & Zhou, Li-An, 2005. "Relative performance evaluation and the turnover of provincial leaders in China," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 421-425, September.
  2. Masahiko Aoki, . "The Evolution of Organizational Conventions and Gains from Diversity," Working Papers, Stanford University, Department of Economics 97032, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  3. Hongbin Li & Li-An Zhou, 2003. "Political Turnover and Economic Performance: The Disciplinary Role of Personnel Control in China," Discussion Papers, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics 00002, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Economics.

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