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Committees, Hierarchies and Polyarchies


  • Sah, Raaj Kumar
  • Stiglitz, Joseph E


This paper examines optimal decision making under three different organizational forms: committees, hierarchies, an d polyarchies. Focus is on the trade-off between errors of rejecting good projects versus errors of accepting bad projects, and on the tra de-off between gains from more extensive evaluations of projects vers us costs of evaluation. The authors characterize the optimal sizes of these organizations (as well as the optimal level of consensus in co mmittees), and then analyze how these optima change under different o rganizational environments. They also analyze the influence of organi zational environment on the relative performance of these alternative organizational forms. Copyright 1988 by Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Sah, Raaj Kumar & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1988. "Committees, Hierarchies and Polyarchies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(391), pages 451-470, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:98:y:1988:i:391:p:451-70

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fagerberg, Jan, 1987. "A technology gap approach to why growth rates differ," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2-4), pages 87-99, August.
    2. Kellman, M, 1983. "Relative Prices and International Competitiveness: An Empirical Investigation," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3-4), pages 125-138.
    3. Anthony P. Thirlwall, 2011. "The Balance of Payments Constraint as an Explanation of International Growth Rate Differences," PSL Quarterly Review, Economia civile, vol. 64(259), pages 429-438.
    4. Ã…dne Cappelen & Nils Petter Gleditsch & Olav Bjerkholt, 1984. "Military Spending and Economic Growth in the OECD Countries," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 21(4), pages 361-373, December.
    5. Smith, R P, 1977. "Military Expenditure and Capitalism," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 61-76, March.
    6. Houthakker, Hendrik S & Magee, Stephen P, 1969. "Income and Price Elasticities in World Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(2), pages 111-125, May.
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