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The Decentralization of Information Processing in the Presence of Interactions

  • Dimitri Vayanos

We propose a model of organizational decision making, in which information processing is decentralized. Our model incorporates two features of many actual organizations: aggregation entails a loss of useful information, and the decision problems of different agents interact. We assume that an organization forms a portfolio of risky assets, following a hierarchical procedure. Agents' decision rules and the organization's hierarchical structure are derived endogenously. Typically, in the optimal hierarchical structure, all agents have one subordinate, and returns to ability are at least as high at the bottom as at the top. However, these results can be reversed in the presence of returns to specialization. Copyright The Review of Economic Studies Limited, 2003.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 70 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 (07)
Pages: 667-695

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Handle: RePEc:bla:restud:v:70:y:2003:i:3:p:667-695
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  1. Alan Beggs, 2000. "Queues and Hierarchies," Economics Series Working Papers 34, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 2004. "The firm as a communication network," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9599, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Van Zandt, Timothy, 2003. "Real-Time Hierarchical Resource Allocation with Quadratic Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 4022, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Van Zandt, Timothy, 1999. "Real-Time Decentralized Information Processing as a Model of Organizations with Boundedly Rational Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(3), pages 633-58, July.
  6. Michael Keren & David Levhari, 1979. "The Optimum Span of Control in a Pure Hierarchy," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(11), pages 1162-1172, November.
  7. Timothy Van Zandt, 1997. "Real-Time Hierarchical Resource Allocation," Discussion Papers 1231, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Jacques Cremer, 1980. "A Partial Theory of the Optimal Organization of a Bureaucracy," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(2), pages 683-693, Autumn.
  9. Prat, Andrea, 1997. "Hierarchies of Processors with Endogenous Capacity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 214-222, November.
  10. Timothy Van Zandt & Roy Radner, 1998. "Real-Time Decentralized Information Processing and Returns to Scale," Discussion Papers 1233, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Michael Keren & David Levhari, 1983. "The Internal Organization of the Firm and the Shape of Average Costs," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 474-486, Autumn.
  12. Orbay, Hakan, 2002. "Information Processing Hierarchies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 370-407, August.
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