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Corporate Hierarchies and the Size of Nations: Theory and Evidence

  • Marin, Dalia
  • Verdier, Thierry

Corporate organization varies within a country and across countries with country size. The paper starts by establishing some facts about corporate organization based on unique data of 660 Austrian and German corporations. The larger country (Germany) has larger firms with flatter more decentral corporate hierarchies compared to the smaller country (Austria). Firms in the larger country change their organization less fast than firms in the smaller country. Over time firms have been introducing less hierarchical organizations by delegating power to lower levels of the corporation. We develop a theory which explains these facts and which links these features to the trade environment that countries and firms face. We introduce firms with internal hierarchies in a Krugman (1980) model of trade. We show that international trade and the toughness of competition in international markets induce a power struggle in firms which eventually leads to decentralized corporate hierarchies. We offer econometric evidence which is consistent with the models predictions.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 1346.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:1346
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  1. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Scholarly Articles 3229096, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Trade, FDI, and the Organization of Firms," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2118, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Krugman, Paul R., 1979. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 469-479, November.
  4. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2008. "Power inside the firm and the market: A general equilibrium approach," Munich Reprints in Economics 19255, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  6. Raghuram Rajan & Henri Servaes & Luigi Zingales, . "The Cost of Diversity: The Diversification Discount and Inefficient Investment," CRSP working papers 357, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  7. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2007. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1351-1408, November.
  8. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," IDEI Working Papers 37, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  9. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2007. "Competing in Organizations: Firm Heterogeneity and International Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 6342, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Barbara Spencer, 2005. "International outsourcing and incomplete contracts," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1107-1135, November.
  11. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2002. "Globalization and the 'New Enterprise'," Discussion Papers in Economics 11, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. Marin, Dalia, 2006. "A new international division of labor in Europe: Outsourcing and offshoring to Eastern Europe," Munich Reprints in Economics 19229, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  13. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  14. Marin, Dalia & Verdier, Thierry, 2004. "Globalization and the Empowerment of Talent," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 1, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  15. Bengt Holmstrom & Steven N. Kaplan, 2001. "Corporate Governance and Merger Activity in the United States: Making Sense of the 1980s and 1990s," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 121-144, Spring.
  16. Raghuram Rajan & Julie Wulf, 2003. "The Flattening Firm: Evidence from Panel Data on the Changing Nature of Corporate Hierarchies," NBER Working Papers 9633, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Patrick Bolton & David S. Scharfstein, 1998. "Corporate Finance, the Theory of the Firm, and Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 95-114, Fall.
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