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The decentralization of information processing in the presence of interactions

  • Dimitri Vayanos

We propose a model of organizational decision making, in which information processing is decentralized. Our model incorporates two features of many actual organizations: aggregation entails a loss of useful information, and the decision problems of different agents interact. We assume that an organization forms a portfolio of risky assets, following a hierarchical procedure. Agents' decision rules and the organization's hierarchical structure are derived endogenously. Typically, in the optimal hierarchical structure, all agents have one subordinate, and returns to ability are at least as high at the bottom as at the top. However, these results can be reversed in the presence of returns to specialization.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/452/
File Function: Open access version.
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 452.

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Date of creation: Jul 2003
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Publication status: Published in Review of Economic Studies, July, 2003, 70(3), pp. 667-695. ISSN: 1467-937X
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:452
Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.
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Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

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  1. Beggs, A., 2000. "Queues and Hierarchies," Economics Series Working Papers 9934, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Orbay, Hakan, 2002. "Information Processing Hierarchies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 370-407, August.
  3. Van Zandt, Timothy, 2003. "Real-Time Hierarchical Resource Allocation with Quadratic Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 4022, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Timothy Van Zandt, 1997. "Real-Time Hierarchical Resource Allocation," Discussion Papers 1231, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Prat, Andrea, 1997. "Hierarchies of Processors with Endogenous Capacity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 214-222, November.
  6. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 1994. "The firm as a communication network," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9595, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  7. Timothy Van Zandt & Roy Radner, 1998. "Real-Time Decentralized Information Processing and Returns to Scale," Discussion Papers 1233, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Van Zandt, Timothy, 1999. "Real-Time Decentralized Information Processing as a Model of Organizations with Boundedly Rational Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(3), pages 633-58, July.
  9. 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.
  10. Michael Keren & David Levhari, 1979. "The Optimum Span of Control in a Pure Hierarchy," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(11), pages 1162-1172, November.
  11. 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.
  12. Michael Keren & David Levhari, 1983. "The Internal Organization of the Firm and the Shape of Average Costs," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 474-486, Autumn.
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