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Technology, Information and the Decentralization of the Firm

  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Philippe Aghion
  • Claire Lelarge
  • John Van Reenen
  • Fabrizio Zilibotti

This paper develops a framework to analyze the relationship between the diffusion of new technologies and the decentralization decisions of firms. Centralized control relies on the information of the principal, which we equate with publicly available information. Decentralized control, on the other hand, delegates authority to a manager with superior information. However, the manager can use her informational advantage to make choices that are not in the best interest of the principal. As the available public information about the specific technology increases, the trade-off shifts in favour of centralization. We show that firms closer to the technological frontier, firms in more heterogeneous environments and younger firms are more likely to choose decentralization. Using three datasets of French and British firms in the 1990s, we report robust correlations consistent with these predictions.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0722.

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Date of creation: May 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0722
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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