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On Group Stability in Hierarchies and Networks

  • Gabrielle Demange

A hierarchical structure is a widespread organizational form in many areas. My aim in this paper is to provide a rationale for this fact based on two premises. First, a group organizes itself so as to achieve efficient coordination. Second, efficient coordination is achieved only if subgroups as well as individuals agree to cooperate. Even in situations in which there are gains to coordination, the agreement of each possible subgroup may be impossible to reach, resulting in instabilities. I argue that a hierarchical organization avoids such instabilities by distributing in an optimal way autonomy and blocking power to a restricted set of subgroups. Comparisons with nondirected networks are drawn.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/421171
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/421171
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 112 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 754-778

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:112:y:2004:i:4:p:754-778
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

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  1. Martin Shubik, 1962. "Incentives, Decentralized Control, the Assignment of Joint Costs and Internal Pricing," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 8(3), pages 325-343, April.
  2. Saijo, Tatsuyoshi, 1988. "Strategy Space Reduction in Maskin's Theorem: Sufficient Conditions for Nash Implementation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(3), pages 693-700, May.
  3. Salvador Barberà & Lars Ehlers, 2011. "Free triples, large indifference classes and the majority rule," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 559-574, October.
  4. Kaneko, Mamoru & Wooders, Myrna Holtz, 1982. "Cores of partitioning games," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 313-327, December.
  5. Raaj Kumar Sah & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1984. "The Architecture of Economic Systems: Hierarchies and Polyarchies," NBER Working Papers 1334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Yi, Sang-Seung, 1997. "Stable Coalition Structures with Externalities," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 201-237, August.
  7. Guesnerie, Roger & Oddou, Claude, 1988. " Increasing Returns to Size and Their Limits," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 90(3), pages 259-73.
  8. Debraj Ray & Rajiv Vohra, 2001. "Coalitional Power and Public Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(6), pages 1355-1384, December.
  9. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521271943 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Alfred D. Chandler, 1969. "Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262530090, June.
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