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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2003. "Globalization and the new enterprise," Munich Reprints in Economics 19256, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Measuring and explaining management practices across firms and countries," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 733, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. 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.
  7. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," NBER Working Papers 12091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," IDEI Working Papers 37, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  9. Raghuram Rajan & Henri Servaes & Luigi Zingales, 2000. "The Cost of Diversity: The Diversification Discount and Inefficient Investment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(1), pages 35-80, 02.
  10. Dalia Marin & Thierry Verdier, 2003. "Globalization and the empowerment of talent," DELTA Working Papers 2003-32, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  11. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2007. "Competing in Organizations: Firm Heterogeneity and International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 6342, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2002. "Power Inside the Firm and the Market: a General Equilibrium Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 3526, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Barbara J. Spencer, 2005. "International Outsourcing and Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 11418, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
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