IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ehl/lserod/58682.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Strategic control and strategic communication

Author

Listed:
  • Alonso, Ricardo

Abstract

This paper studies the optimal allocation of decision rights between an uninformed principal and an informed agent when interdependent activities need to be adapted to local conditions. While the principal cares only about overall profits the agent may favor higher, or lower, levels for each activity than the profit-maximizing level. The principal has limited commitment power and can only commit to an ex-ante allocation of decision rights. Whenever the principal retains some (or all) decision rights the agent communicates his information strategically, i.e. via cheap talk. We show that if activities are complementary the principal can always improve the informativeness of communication by sharing control with the agent, while sharing control over activities that interact as substitutes always worsens communication. As a result of this communication advantage, sharing control over complementary activities can be optimal, while control over activities that interact as substitutes is optimally allocated to the same party.

Suggested Citation

  • Alonso, Ricardo, 2009. "Strategic control and strategic communication," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58682, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:58682
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/58682/
    File Function: Open access version.
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2005. "On the Design of Hierarchies: Coordination versus Specialization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 675-702, August.
    2. Philippe Aghion & Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Rey, 2004. "Transferable Control," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(1), pages 115-138, March.
    3. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 1994. "The Firm as a Communication Network," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 109(4), pages 809-839.
    4. Jensen, Michael C, 1986. "Agency Costs of Free Cash Flow, Corporate Finance, and Takeovers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 323-329, May.
    5. Jacques Crémer & Luis Garicano & Andrea Prat, 2007. "Language and the Theory of the Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 122(1), pages 373-407.
    6. Vijay Krishna & John Morgan, 2001. "A Model of Expertise," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 116(2), pages 747-775.
    7. Axel Gautier & Dimitri Paolini, 2007. "Delegation and Information Revelation," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 163(4), pages 574-597, December.
    8. Baliga, Sandeep & Morris, Stephen, 2002. "Co-ordination, Spillovers, and Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 450-468, August.
    9. Helmut Bester, 2009. "Externalities, communication and the allocation of decision rights," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 41(2), pages 269-296, November.
    10. Robert J. Aumann & Sergiu Hart, 2003. "Long Cheap Talk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1619-1660, November.
      • Robert J. Aumann & Sergiu Hart, 2002. "Long Cheap Talk," Discussion Paper Series dp284, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, revised Nov 2002.
    11. Milton Harris & Artur Raviv, 2005. "Allocation of Decision-making Authority," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 9(3), pages 353-383.
    12. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-991, September.
    13. Massimo G. Colombo & Marco Delmastro, 2004. "Delegation of Authority In Business Organizations: An Empirical Test," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 53-80, March.
    14. Vijay Krishna & John Morgan, 2008. "Contracting for information under imperfect commitment," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 905-925, December.
    15. Marco Battaglini, 2002. "Multiple Referrals and Multidimensional Cheap Talk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1379-1401, July.
    16. Wouter Dessein, 2002. "Authority and Communication in Organizations," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 69(4), pages 811-838.
    17. Nicolaj Siggelkow, 2002. "Misperceiving Interactions Among Complements and Substitutes: Organizational Consequences," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(7), pages 900-916, July.
    18. Krishna, Vijay & Morgan, John, 2004. "The art of conversation: eliciting information from experts through multi-stage communication," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 147-179, August.
    19. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2002. "Information Technology, Workplace Organization, and the Demand for Skilled Labor: Firm-Level Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 117(1), pages 339-376.
    20. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
    21. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    22. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    23. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    24. Brousseau,Eric & Glachant,Jean-Michel (ed.), 2002. "The Economics of Contracts," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521893138, November.
    25. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2000. "Beyond Computation: Information Technology, Organizational Transformation and Business Performance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 23-48, Fall.
    26. Radner, Roy, 1993. "The Organization of Decentralized Information Processing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1109-1146, September.
    27. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-1158, December.
    28. repec:ner:ucllon:http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/17678/ is not listed on IDEAS
    29. Philippe Aghion & Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Rey, 2004. "Transferable Control," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(1), pages 115-138, March.
    30. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton, 1992. "An Incomplete Contracts Approach to Financial Contracting," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 59(3), pages 473-494.
    31. Timothy van Zandt, 1999. "Real-Time Decentralized Information Processing as a Model of Organizations with Boundedly Rational Agents," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 66(3), pages 633-658.
    32. Jeremy C. Stein, 2002. "Information Production and Capital Allocation: Decentralized versus Hierarchical Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(5), pages 1891-1921, October.
    33. Stein, Jeremy C, 1989. "Cheap Talk and the Fed: A Theory of Imprecise Policy Announcements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 32-42, March.
    34. Krahmer, Daniel, 2006. "Message-contingent delegation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(4), pages 490-506, August.
    35. Joseph Farrell, 1987. "Cheap Talk, Coordination, and Entry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(1), pages 34-39, Spring.
    36. Battaglini Marco, 2004. "Policy Advice with Imperfectly Informed Experts," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-34, April.
    37. Anthony M. Marino & John G. Matsusaka, 2005. "Decision Processes, Agency Problems, and Information: An Economic Analysis of Capital Budgeting Procedures," The Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(1), pages 301-325.
    38. Friebel, Guido & Raith, Michael, 2006. "Resource Allocation and Firm Scope," IZA Discussion Papers 2249, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    39. Susan Athey & John Roberts, 2001. "Organizational Design: Decision Rights and Incentive Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 200-205, May.
    40. Brousseau,Eric & Glachant,Jean-Michel (ed.), 2002. "The Economics of Contracts," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521814904, November.
    41. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817, Decembrie.
    42. Robert A. Taggart Jr., 1987. "Allocating Capital Among A Firm'S Divisions: Hurdle Rates Vs. Budgets," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 10(3), pages 177-190, September.
    43. Nahum D. Melumad & Toshiyuki Shibano, 1991. "Communication in Settings with No. Transfers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(2), pages 173-198, Summer.
    44. 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.
    45. Milton Harris & Artur Raviv, 2005. "Allocation of Decision-making Authority," Review of Finance, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 353-383, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Nemanja Antić & Nicola Persico, 2020. "Cheap Talk With Endogenous Conflict of Interest," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(6), pages 2663-2695, November.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Ricardo Alonso & Wouter Dessein & Niko Matouschek, 2008. "When Does Coordination Require Centralization?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 145-179, March.
    2. Tigran Melkonyan, 2014. "Decentralization, Incentive Contracts and the Effect of Distortions in Performance Measures," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 82(6), pages 631-652, December.
    3. Lim, Wooyoung, 2014. "Communication in bargaining over decision rights," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 159-179.
    4. Migrow, Dimitri, 2021. "Designing communication hierarchies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 198(C).
    5. Helmut Bester, 2009. "Externalities, communication and the allocation of decision rights," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 41(2), pages 269-296, November.
    6. Lim, Wooyoung, 2012. "Selling authority," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 393-415.
    7. Murali Agastya & Parimal Kanti Bag & Indranil Chakraborty, 2014. "Communication and authority with a partially informed expert," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(1), pages 176-197, March.
    8. Dessein, Wouter, 2012. "Incomplete Contracts and Firm Boundaries: New Directions," CEPR Discussion Papers 9019, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Arve, Malin & Honryo, Takakazu, 2022. "Wasteful procedures?," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 122(C).
    10. Luis Garicano & Luis Rayo, 2016. "Why Organizations Fail: Models and Cases," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(1), pages 137-192, March.
    11. Wouter Dessein & Richard Holden, 2022. "Organizations with Power-Hungry Agents," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65(S1), pages 263-291.
    12. Englmaier, Florian & Filipi, Ales & Singh, Ravi, 2010. "Incentives, reputation and the allocation of authority," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 413-427, November.
    13. Gibbons, Robert, 2005. "Four forma(lizable) theories of the firm?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 200-245, October.
    14. Dirk Höring & Helmut Gründl & Sebastian Schlütter, 2016. "Impediments to Communication in Financial Institutions: Implications for the Risk Management Organization," The Geneva Risk and Insurance Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 41(2), pages 193-224, September.
    15. Dirk Höring & Helmut Gründl & Sebastian Schlütter, 2016. "Impediments to Communication in Financial Institutions: Implications for the Risk Management Organization," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance Theory, Springer;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 41(2), pages 193-224, September.
    16. Nicholas Bloom & Luis Garicano & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2014. "The Distinct Effects of Information Technology and Communication Technology on Firm Organization," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(12), pages 2859-2885, December.
    17. Choe, Chongwoo & Ishiguro, Shingo, 2008. "On the (Sub)optimality of Multi-tier Hierarchies: Coordination versus Motivation," MPRA Paper 13451, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Choe Chongwoo & Park In-Uck, 2011. "Information, Authority, and Corporate Hierarchies," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-39, February.
    19. Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R. & Puri, Manju, 2015. "Capital allocation and delegation of decision-making authority within firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 449-470.
    20. Garrouste, Pierre & Saussier, Stephane, 2005. "Looking for a theory of the firm: Future challenges," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 178-199, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    authority; cheap talk; incomplete contracts;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:58682. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: LSERO Manager (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/lsepsuk.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.