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The Return to Knowledge Hierarchies

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  • Garicano, Luis
  • Hubbard, Thomas

Abstract

Hierarchies allow individuals to leverage their knowledge through others' time. This mechanism increases productivity and amplifies the impact of skill heterogeneity on earnings inequality. To quantify this effect, we analyze the earnings and organization of U.S. lawyers and use the equilibrium model of knowledge hierarchies in Garicano and Rossi-Hansberg (2006) to assess how much lawyers' productivity and the distribution of earnings across lawyers reflects lawyers' ability to organize problem-solving hierarchically. We analyze earnings, organizational, and assignment patterns and show that they are generally consistent with the main predictions of the model. We then use these data to estimate the model. Our estimates imply that hierarchical production leads to at least a 30% increase in production in this industry, relative to a situation where lawyers within the same office do not

Suggested Citation

  • Garicano, Luis & Hubbard, Thomas, 2007. "The Return to Knowledge Hierarchies," CEPR Discussion Papers 6077, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6077
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Luis Garicano & Thomas Hubbard, 2009. "Earnings Inequality and Coordination Costs: Evidence From U.S. Law Firms," NBER Working Papers 14741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ali Hortacsu & Chad Syverson, 2009. "Why Do Firms Own Production Chains?," Working Papers 09-31, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    3. Steven N. Kaplan & Joshua Rauh, 2010. "Wall Street and Main Street: What Contributes to the Rise in the Highest Incomes?," NBER Chapters,in: Corporate Governance National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Maria Guadalupe & Julie M. Wulf, 2008. "The Flattening Firm and Product Market Competition: The Effect of Trade Liberalization," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-067, Harvard Business School.
    5. Roberto Antonietti & Maria Rosaria Ferrante & Riccardo Leoncini, 2016. "Local market size, social capital and outsourcing: evidence from Emilia Romagna," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 243-260, June.
    6. Carlo Altomonte & Armando Rungi, 2013. "Business Groups as Hierarchies of Firms: Determinants of Vertical Integration and Performance," Working Papers 2013.33, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    7. Lucas van der Velde, 2017. "Within occupation wage dispersion and the task content of jobs," GRAPE Working Papers 22, GRAPE Group for Research in Applied Economics.
    8. Ann P. Bartel & Ciaran S. Phibbs & Nancy Beaulieu & Patricia Stone, 2011. "Human Capital and Organizational Performance: Evidence from the Healthcare Sector," NBER Working Papers 17474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Frank Limehouse & Robert McCormick, 2011. "Impacts of Central Business District Location: A Hedonic Analysis of Legal Service Establishments," Working Papers 11-21, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    hedonics; hierarchy; matching; scale of operations effects; sorting; Structural Estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
    • L84 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Personal, Professional, and Business Services

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