IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hbs/wpaper/18-051.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Come Together: Firm Boundaries and Delegation

Author

Listed:
  • Laura Alfaro

    () (Harvard Business School, Business, Government and the International Economy Unit)

  • Nicholas Bloom

    () (Stanford University)

  • Paola Conconi

    () (ECARES, Université Libre de Bruxelles)

  • Harald Fadinger

    () (University of Mannheim)

  • Patrick Legros

    (ECARES, Université Libre de Bruxelles)

  • Andrew F. Newman

    () (Boston University)

  • Raffaella Sadun

    () (Harvard Business School, Strategy Unit)

  • John Van Reenen

    () (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Abstract

Little is known about the relationship between firm boundaries and the allocation of decision rights within firms. We develop a model in which final good producers choose which suppliers to integrate and whether to delegate decisions to integrated suppliers, when they are ex-ante uncertain about their ability. In this setting, integration has an option value: ownership rights give producers authority to delegate or centralize production decisions, depending on the realized ability of suppliers. To assess the evidence, we construct measures of vertical integration and delegation for thousands of firms in many countries and industries. Consistent with the model, we find that (i) integration and delegation co-vary positively; (ii) firms delegate more decisions to integrated suppliers of more valuable inputs; and suppliers are more likely to be integrated if (iii) they produce more valuable inputs and (iv) operate in industries with greater productivity dispersion.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Alfaro & Nicholas Bloom & Paola Conconi & Harald Fadinger & Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2017. "Come Together: Firm Boundaries and Delegation," Harvard Business School Working Papers 18-051, Harvard Business School, revised May 2019.
  • Handle: RePEc:hbs:wpaper:18-051
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/pages/download.aspx?name=18-051.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Nicholas Bloom & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Does Product Market Competition Lead Firms to Decentralize?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 434-438, May.
    3. Silke J. Forbes & Mara Lederman, 2010. "Does vertical integration affect firm performance? Evidence from the airline industry," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(4), pages 765-790, December.
    4. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1351-1408.
    5. Woodruff, Christopher, 2002. "Non-contractible investments and vertical integration in the Mexican footwear industry," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(8), pages 1197-1224, October.
    6. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    7. Laura Alfaro & Paola Conconi & Harald Fadinger & Andrew F. Newman, 2016. "Do Prices Determine Vertical Integration?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(3), pages 855-888.
    8. Joskow, Paul L, 1987. "Contract Duration and Relationship-Specific Investments: Empirical Evidence from Coal Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 168-185, March.
    9. Eric Van den Steen, 2010. "Interpersonal Authority in a Theory of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 466-490, March.
    10. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-528, June.
    11. Fan, Joseph P H & Lang, Larry H P, 2000. "The Measurement of Relatedness: An Application to Corporate Diversification," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73(4), pages 629-660, October.
    12. Michael Powell, 2015. "An Influence-Cost Model of Organizational Practices and Firm Boundaries," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(suppl_1), pages 104-142.
    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. Giuseppe Berlingieri & Frank Pisch & Claudia Steinwender, 2018. "Organizing Global Supply Chains: Input-Output Linkages and Vertical Integration," CEP Discussion Papers dp1583, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Berlingieri, Giuseppe & Pisch, Frank & Steinwender, Claudia, 2018. "Organizing global supply chains: input costs shares and vertical integration," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 91706, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Vertical integration; decentralization; real options; supply assurance.;

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:hbs:wpaper:18-051. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Soebagio Notosoehardjo). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/harbsus.html .

    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 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.

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.