Managerial Leverage Is Limited by the Extent of the Market: Hierarchies, Specialization, and the Utilization of Lawyers' Human Capital
This paper examines the role of hierarchies in the organization of human-capital-intensive production. We develop an equilibrium model of hierarchical organization and provide empirical evidence based on confidential data on thousands of law offices. The equilibrium assignment of individuals to hierarchical positions varies with the degree of field specialization, which increases as the extent of the market increases. As individuals' knowledge becomes narrower but deeper, managerial leverage--the number of workers per manager--optimally increases to exploit this depth. Consistent with our model, the share of lawyers who work in hierarchies and the ratio of associates to partners increase as market size increases and lawyers field specialize. Other results provide evidence against alternative interpretations that emphasize unobserved differences in the distribution of demand, or firm-size effects, and lend additional support to the view that, in legal services, hierarchies help exploit increasing returns associated with the utilization of human capital.
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.:
- repec:adr:anecst:y:1992:i:25-26:p:13 is not listed on IDEAS
- Sherwin Rosen, 1982. "Authority, Control, and the Distribution of Earnings," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 311-323, Autumn.
- Radner, Roy, 1993. "The Organization of Decentralized Information Processing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1109-46, September.
- Yingyi Qian, 1994. "Incentives and Loss of Control in an Optimal Hierarchy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 527-544.
- Paul M Romer, 1999.
"Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
2232, David K. Levine.
- Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1998.
"Power in a Theory of the Firm,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 387-432.
- Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, . "Power in a Theory of the Firm," CRSP working papers 335, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
- Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 1777, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1997. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 6274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Roy Radner & Timothy Van Zandt, 1992. "Information Processing in Firms and Returns to Scale," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 25-26, pages 265-298.
- Rebitzer, James B, 1993. "Radical Political Economy and the Economics of Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 1394-434, September.
- repec:adr:anecst:y:1992:i:25-26 is not listed on IDEAS
- 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.
- Raghuram G. Rajan & Julie Wulf, 2006. "The Flattening Firm: Evidence from Panel Data on the Changing Nature of Corporate Hierarchies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 759-773, November.
- Timothy van Zandt, 1999. "Real-Time Decentralized Information Processing as a Model of Organizations with Boundedly Rational Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(3), pages 633-658.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:y:2007:v:50:i:1:p:1-43. 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: (Journals Division)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.