IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/1334.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Architecture of Economic Systems: Hierarchies and Polyarchies

Author

Listed:
  • Raaj Kumar Sah
  • Joseph E. Stiglitz

Abstract

This paper presents some new perspectives on the structure and performance of alternative economic organizations. We posit that decision makers make errors of judgement (for example, they sometimes select bad projects while rejecting good projects), and that how these errors are aggregated within different organizations depends on their architecture (for example, on how individuals are organized together). Using this framework, we compare the performances of two polar forms of organizations: hierarchies and polyarchies. Assuming judgmental abilities of individuals are similar in the two systems, we show that polyarchies accept a larger proportion of bad projects (compared to hierarchies) whereas hierarchies reject a larger proportion of good projects. We then determine the conditions under which polyarchies have higher or lower expected profit. The conditions under which polyarchies perform better appear to be more plausible and, moreover, this conclusion holds also in the case where the rules for accepting or rejecting projects are rationally determined based on the information available to individuals. The architecture of organizations also affects their portfolio of available projects; we determine conditions under which polyarchies have better or worse portfolios compared to those available to hierarchies.There are many possible extensions of our approach. Among them are the analysis of internal structure of firms, selection of managers (by other managers) and the reproduction and self-perpetuation of organizations over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Raaj Kumar Sah & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1984. "The Architecture of Economic Systems: Hierarchies and Polyarchies," NBER Working Papers 1334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1334
    Note: PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1334.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nalebuff, Barry J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1983. "Information, Competition, and Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(2), pages 278-283, May.
    2. Martin L. Weitzman, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 477-491.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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. Inés Macho-Stadler, 2008. "Environmental regulation: choice of instruments under imperfect compliance," Spanish Economic Review, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 1-21, March.
    2. Shrestha, Ratna K., 2017. "Menus of price-quantity contracts for inducing the truth in environmental regulation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 1-7.
    3. Pizer, William A., 1999. "The optimal choice of climate change policy in the presence of uncertainty," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3-4), pages 255-287, August.
    4. Lawrence H. Goulder, 2013. "Markets for Pollution Allowances: What Are the (New) Lessons?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(1), pages 87-102, Winter.
    5. Grüll, Georg & Taschini, Luca, 2011. "Cap-and-trade properties under different hybrid scheme designs," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 107-118, January.
    6. Sam Fankhauser & Cameron Hepburn, 2009. "Carbon markets in space and time," GRI Working Papers 3, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    7. Newbery, David M. & Greve, Thomas, 2017. "The strategic robustness of oligopoly electricity market models," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 124-132.
    8. Stavins, Robert, 2001. "Lessons From the American Experiment With Market-Based Environmental Policies," Discussion Papers dp-01-53, Resources For the Future.
    9. N. N., 2018. "Carbon Taxes from an Economic Perspective," WIFO Working Papers 554, WIFO.
    10. Halvor Briseid Storrøsten, 2012. "Prices vs. quantities: Technology choice, uncertainty and welfare," Discussion Papers 677, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    11. Jobst, Andreas A., 2014. "Measuring systemic risk-adjusted liquidity (SRL)—A model approach," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 270-287.
    12. Philippe Aghion & Antoine Dechezleprêtre & David Hémous & Ralf Martin & John Van Reenen, 2016. "Carbon Taxes, Path Dependency, and Directed Technical Change: Evidence from the Auto Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(1), pages 1-51.
    13. Lehmann, Paul, 2010. "Combining emissions trading and emissions taxes in a multi-objective world," UFZ Discussion Papers 4/2010, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    14. Chen, Hung-Yi & Chang, Yang-Ming & Chiou, Jiunn-Rong, 2011. "A welfare analysis of tariffs and equivalent quotas under demand uncertainty: Implications for tariffication," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 549-561, October.
    15. Adam B. Jaffe & Richard G. Newell & Robert N. Stavins, 2000. "Technological Change and the Environment," NBER Working Papers 7970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. David M. Newbery & David M. Reiner & Robert A. Ritz, 2018. "When is a carbon price floor desirable?," Working Papers EPRG 1816, Energy Policy Research Group, Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.
    17. Coulon, Michael & Khazaei, Javad & Powell, Warren B., 2015. "SMART-SREC: A stochastic model of the New Jersey solar renewable energy certificate market," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 13-31.
    18. Roberton Williams, 2002. "Prices vs. Quantities vs. Tradable Quantities," NBER Working Papers 9283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Martin Zapf & Hermann Pengg & Christian Weindl, 2019. "How to Comply with the Paris Agreement Temperature Goal: Global Carbon Pricing According to Carbon Budgets," Energies, MDPI, vol. 12(15), pages 1-20, August.
    20. Richard Newell & William Pizer & Jiangfeng Zhang, 2005. "Managing Permit Markets to Stabilize Prices," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(2), pages 133-157, June.

    More about this item

    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:nbr:nberwo:1334. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.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 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: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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.