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Corporate Hierarchies and the Size of Nations: Theory and Evidence

  • Marin, Dalia
  • Verdier, Thierry

Corporate organization varies within a country and across countries with country size. The paper starts by establishing some facts about corporate organization based on unique data of 660 Austrian and German corporations. The larger country (Germany) has larger firms with flatter and more decentralized corporate hierarchies compared to the smaller country (Austria). Firms in the larger country change their organization less fast than firms in the smaller country. Over time firms have been introducing less hierarchical organizations by delegating power to lower levels of the corporation. We develop a theory, which explains these facts and which links these features to the trade environment that countries and firms face. We introduce firms with internal hierarchies in a Krugman(1980) cum Melitz and Ottaviano (2007) model of trade. We show that international trade and the toughness of competition in international markets induce a power struggle in firms, which eventually leads to decentralized corporate hierarchies. We offer empirical evidence, which is consistent with the models predictions.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6734.

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Date of creation: Mar 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6734
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  1. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2003. "Globalization and the Empowerment of Talent," Discussion Papers in Economics 268, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp0716, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2003. "Globalization and the new enterprise," Munich Reprints in Economics 19256, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Barbara J. Spencer, 2005. "International Outsourcing and Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 11418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 295-316.
  6. 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.
  7. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  8. Patrick Bolton & David S. Scharfstein, 1998. "Corporate Finance, the Theory of the Firm, and Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 95-114, Fall.
  9. Dalia Marin, 2006. "A New International Division of Labor in Europe: Outsourcing and Offshoring to Eastern Europe," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 612-622, 04-05.
  10. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 95-8, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Helpman, Elhanan, 2006. "Trade, FDI and the Organization of Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 5589, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  13. Bengt Holmstrom & Steven N. Kaplan, 2001. "Corporate Governance and Merger Activity in the United States: Making Sense of the 1980s and 1990s," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 121-144, Spring.
  14. Dalia Marin & Thierry Verdier, 2008. "Power Inside The Firm and The Market: A General Equilibrium Approach," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(4), pages 752-788, 06.
  15. Rajan, Raghuram G & Servaes, Henri & Zingales, Luigi, 1998. "The Cost of Diversity: The Diversification Discount and Inefficient Investment," CEPR Discussion Papers 1801, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2007. "Competing in Organizations: Firm Heterogeneity and International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 6342, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
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