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Bureaucracy as a Mechanism to Generate Information

  • Walter Novaes
  • Luigi Zingales

Firms that maintain no formal record of actions and events would hardly be considered well managed. Yet, organizations that require the recording of actions and the filing of reports are often labeled bureaucratic' and inefficient. This paper argues that the thin line between efficient management practices and inefficient bureaucracy is crossed to curb managerial agency costs in a multi-layer hierarchy. The model predicts that bureaucracy increases with the frequency of managerial turnover, and it establishes a link between bureaucracy, incentive schemes, and leverage in a cross-section of firms.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9763.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9763.

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Date of creation: Jun 2003
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Publication status: published as Novaes, Walter and Luigi Zingales. "Bureaucracy as a Mechanism to Generate Information." RAND Journal of Economics 35, 2 (Summer 2004): 245-59.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9763
Note: CF
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  1. Paul R. Milgrom., 1987. "Employment Contracts, Influence Activities and Efficient Organization Design," Economics Working Papers 8741, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Warner, Jerold B. & Watts, Ross L. & Wruck, Karen H., 1988. "Stock prices and top management changes," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 461-492, January.
  3. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1990. " Capital Structure and the Informational Role of Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 321-49, June.
  4. Denis, David J & Denis, Diane K, 1995. " Performance Changes Following Top Management Dismissals," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-57, September.
  5. Edlin, Aaron S & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1995. "Discouraging Rivals: Managerial Rent-Seeking and Economic Inefficiencies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1301-12, December.
  6. Gilson, Stuart C., 1989. "Management turnover and financial distress," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 241-262, December.
  7. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Hierarchies and Bureaucracies: On the Role of Collusion in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 181-214, Fall.
  8. 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.
  9. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Efficiency of Equity in Organizational Decision Processes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 154-59, May.
  10. Prendergast, Canice J, 1995. "A Theory of Responsibility in Organizations," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(3), pages 387-400, July.
  11. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Organizational Design and Technology Choice under Intrafirm Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 195-222, March.
  12. repec:cep:stitep:/1996/303 is not listed on IDEAS
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