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Does product market competition lead firms to decentralize?

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  • Bloom, Nick
  • Sadun, Raffaella
  • Van Reenen, John

Abstract

There is a widespread sense that over the last two decades firms have been decentralizing decisions to employees further down the managerial hierarchy. Economists have developed a range of theories to account for delegation, but there is less empirical evidence, especially across countries. This has limited the ability to understand the phenomenon of decentralization. To address the empirical lacuna we have developed a research program to measure the internal organization of firms - including their decentralization decisions - across a large range of industries and countries. In this paper we investigate whether greater product market competition increases decentralization. For example, tougher competition may make local manager's information more valuable, as delays to decisions become more costly. Since globalization and liberalization have increased the competitiveness of product markets, one explanation for the trend towards decentralization could be increased competition. Of course there are a range of other factors that may also be at play, including human capital, information and communication technology, culture and industrial composition. To tackle these issues we collected detailed information on the internal organization of firms across nations. The few datasets that exist are either from a single industry or (at best) across many firms in a single country. We analyze data on almost 4,000 firms across twelve countries in Europe, North America and Asia. We find that competition does indeed seem to foster greater decentralization.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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  • Bloom, Nick & Sadun, Raffaella & Van Reenen, John, 2010. "Does product market competition lead firms to decentralize?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28615, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:28615
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Philippe Aghion & Nick Bloom & Richard Blundell & Rachel Griffith & Peter Howitt, 2005. "Competition and Innovation: an Inverted-U Relationship," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 701-728.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schymik, Jan Simon, 2015. "Trade, Technologies, and the Evolution of Corporate Governance," Discussion Papers in Economics 24871, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    2. Maloney, William F. & Sarrias, Mauricio, 2017. "Convergence to the managerial frontier," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 284-306.
    3. Bloom, Nicholas & Van Reenen, John, 2011. "Human Resource Management and Productivity," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    4. Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2011. "Field Experiments with Firms," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 63-82, Summer.
    5. Marin, Dalia, 2012. "The Theory of the Firm goes Global," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 370, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    6. Marin, Dalia & Rousova, Linda & Verdier, Thierry, 2013. "Do Multinationals Transplant their Business Model?," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 398, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    7. Shahid Yusuf, 2012. "From Technological Catch-up to Innovation : The Future of China’s GDP Growth," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12781, The World Bank.
    8. Ralf Martin & Mirabelle Mu?ls & Laure B. de Preux & Ulrich J. Wagner, 2014. "Industry Compensation under Relocation Risk: A Firm-Level Analysis of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(8), pages 2482-2508, August.
    9. Sara Moreira, 2017. "Firm Dynamics, Persistent Effects of Entry Conditions, and Business Cycles," Working Papers 17-29, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    10. Athanasouli, Daphne & Goujard, Antoine, 2015. "Corruption and management practices: Firm level evidence," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, pages 1014-1034.
    11. Alfaro, Laura & Conconi, Paola & Fadinger, Harald & Newman, Andrew, 2010. "Trade Policy and Firm Boundaries," CEPR Discussion Papers 7899, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Xin Jin, 2014. "Flattening Firms and Wage Distribution," Working Papers 0414, University of South Florida, Department of Economics.
    13. Yang, Tina & Zhao, Shan, 2014. "CEO duality and firm performance: Evidence from an exogenous shock to the competitive environment," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 534-552.
    14. Schymik, Jan, 2013. "Trade, Technologies and the Talent Organization," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79922, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    15. Jin, Xin, 2014. "Flattening Firms and Wage Distribution," MPRA Paper 58485, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Junichiro Ishida, 2012. "Promotion without Commitment: Signaling, Time Inconsistency and Decentralization of the Firm," ISER Discussion Paper 0843, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    17. Masazumi Hattori & Kohei Shintani & Hirofumi Uchida, 2012. "Authority and Soft Information Production within a Bank Organization," IMES Discussion Paper Series 12-E-07, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
    18. Huang,Zhangkai & Li,Lixing & Ma,Guangrong & Xu,L. Colin, 2015. "Hayek, local information, and the decentralization of state-owned enterprises in China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7321, The World Bank.
    19. Alonso, Ricardo & Dessein, Wouter & Matouschek, Niko, 2015. "Organizing to adapt and compete," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58647, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    20. Aloña Martiarena, 2012. "Mobility of Skills and Ideas," DRUID Working Papers 12-04, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    21. Zhou, Jun, 2012. "Cartel Duration and Endogenous Private Monitoring and Communication: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 369, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    22. Mullins, William & Schoar, Antoinette, 2016. "How do CEOs see their roles? Management philosophies and styles in family and non-family firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 24-43.
    23. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2014. "Corporate hierarchies and international trade: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 295-310.
    24. Morikawa, Masayuki, 2015. "Are large headquarters unproductive?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 422-436.

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    Keywords

    ISI;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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