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Trust, Firm Organization and the Structure of Production

  • Federico Cingano
  • Paolo Pinotti

Interpersonal trust favors the expansion of organizations by allowing the delegation of decisions and tasks among anonymous others or people that interact only infrequently. We document these facts for a representative survey of Italian manufacturing firms and use this source of data to construct an industry-specific measure of need-for-delegation in production. We then show that trust shapes comparative advantage, as high-trust regions and countries exhibit larger value added and export shares in delegation-intensive industries relative to other industries. Such effects are associated with an increase in average firm size, while the number of firms is not significantly affected. Larger average size reflects in turn a shift of the distribution away from the smallest firms, consistently with the idea that trust allows organizations to expand beyond the narrow circle of family members and close friends.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.dondena.unibocconi.it/WorkingPapers/Dondena_WP053.pdf
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Paper provided by "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in its series Working Papers with number 053.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:don:donwpa:053
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  1. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital And Predict Financial Decisions," Working Papers 909, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  2. Ichino, Andrea & Maggi, Giovanni, 2000. "Work Environment And Individual Background: Explaining Regional Shirking Differentials In A Large Italian Firm," CEPR Discussion Papers 2387, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Lafontaine, Francine & Slade, Margaret, 2007. "Vertical Integration and Firm Boundaries : The Evidence," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 799, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  4. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2008. "Trusting the Stock Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(6), pages 2557-2600, December.
  5. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1996. "Financial Dependence and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5758, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. D, Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Claire Lelarge & John Van Reenen & Fabrizzio Zilibotti, 2006. "Technology, Information and the Decentralization of the Firm," Working Papers 2006-12, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  7. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital and Predict Financial Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1688-1699, December.
  8. Andrei A. Levchenko, 2004. "Institutional Quality and International Trade," IMF Working Papers 04/231, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Cahuc, Pierre & Algan, Yann & Aghion, Philippe, 2009. "Civil Society and the State: The Interplay between Cooperation and Minimum Wage Regulation," Scholarly Articles 3226957, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Rachel Griffith & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2010. "Vertical Integration and Technology: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(5), pages 989-1033, 09.
  11. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
  12. Francisco Pérez-González, 2006. "Inherited Control and Firm Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1559-1588, December.
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