IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Information Technology, Efficient Restructuring and the Productivity Puzzle

  • Grüner, Hans Peter
Registered author(s):

    Labour productivity in the US has recently grown more strongly than in most European countries. It is often argued that the American productivity increase is due to the widespread introduction of new information and communication technologies (ICT). But why have the same technologies not similarly increased Europe's labour productivity? This paper provides a theoretical explanation for this productivity puzzle based on an extension of Radner's (1992) model of hierarchical information aggregation. The introduction of new ICTs enables organizations to process any given amount of information with a shorter delay. This enables organizations to restructure and solve incentive problems without risking excessive delay. Even a marginal improvement in the ICT can yield significant increases in labour productivity if - and only if - the organization is drastically restructured. Restructuring yields hierarchies with fewer layers and fewer managers, all working under incentive pay and providing first best effort. However, managers need not participate in the gains associated with the restructuring of their business firms.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6109.

    in new window

    Date of creation: Feb 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6109
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
    Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
    Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

    Order Information: Email:

    References listed on IDEAS
    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.:

    as in new window
    1. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    2. Prat, Andrea, 1997. "Hierarchies of Processors with Endogenous Capacity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 214-222, November.
    3. Grüner, Hans Peter & Schulte, Elisabeth, 2004. "Speed and Quality of Collective Decision-Making II: Incentives for Information Provision," CEPR Discussion Papers 4397, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Legros, Patrick & Newman, Andrew F, 2002. "Monotone Matching in Perfect and Imperfect Worlds," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(4), pages 925-42, October.
    5. Eyal Winter, 2004. "Incentives and Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 764-773, June.
    6. Orbay, Hakan, 2002. "Information Processing Hierarchies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 370-407, August.
    7. Mookherjee, D. & Reichelstein, S., 1996. "Budgeting and Hierarchical Control," Papers 71, Boston University - Industry Studies Programme.
    8. Hans Peter Grüner & Elisabeth Schulte, 2004. "Speed and Quality of Collective Decision Making: Incentives for," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000417, UCLA Department of Economics.
    9. Nahum D. Melumad & Dilip Mookherjee & Stefan Reichelstein, 1995. "Hierarchical Decentralization of Incentive Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 654-672, Winter.
    10. Meagher, Kieron J & Orbay, Hakan & Van Zandt, Timothy, 2001. "Hierarchy Size and Environmental Uncertainty," CEPR Discussion Papers 2839, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Erik J. Brynjolfsson & Thomas Malone & Vijay Gurbaxani & Ajit Kambil, 1991. "Does Information Technology Lead to Smaller Firms?," Working Paper Series 123, MIT Center for Coordination Science.
    12. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 1999. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. 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.
    14. Bolton, Patrick & Dewatripont, Mathias, 1994. "The Firm as a Communication Network," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 809-39, November.
    15. Jacques Cremer, 1980. "A Partial Theory of the Optimal Organization of a Bureaucracy," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(2), pages 683-693, Autumn.
    16. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Organization and Inequality in a Knowledge Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1383-1435, November.
    17. Mathias Dewatripont & Jean Tirole, 2005. "Modes of communication," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9631, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    18. Philippe Jehiel, 1999. "Information Aggregation and Communication in Organizations," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(5), pages 659-669, May.
    19. Radner, Roy, 1993. "The Organization of Decentralized Information Processing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1109-46, September.
    20. Manishi Prasad & Peter Wahlqvist & Rich Shikiar & Ya-Chen Tina Shih, 2004. "A," PharmacoEconomics, Springer Healthcare | Adis, vol. 22(4), pages 225-244.
    21. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why Do Americans Work So Much More Than Europeans?," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000413, UCLA Department of Economics.
    22. Fernandez, Raquel & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Resistance to Reform: Status Quo Bias in the Presence of Individual-Specific Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1146-55, December.
    23. Luis Garicano, 2000. "Hierarchies and the Organization of Knowledge in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 874-904, October.
    24. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2004. "Inequality and the Organization of Knowledge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 197-202, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6109. 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: ()

    The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask to update the entry or send us the correct address

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.