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Real-Time Hierarchical Resource Allocation

  • Timothy Van Zandt

This paper presents a model that distinguishes between decentralized information processing and decentralized decision making in organizations; it shows that decentralized decision making can be advantageous due to computational delay, even in the absence of communication costs. The key feature of the model, which makes this result possible, is that decisions in a stochastic control problem are calculated in real time by boundedly rational members of an adminstration staff. The decision problem is to allocate resources in a changing environment. We consider a class of hierarchical procedures in which information about cost functions flow down and are disaggregated by the hierarchy. Nodes of the hierarchy correspond not to a single person but to decision-making units within which there may be decentralized information processing. The lower tiers of multitier hierarchies can allocate resources quickly within small groups, while higher tiers are still able to exploit gains from trade between the groups (although on the basis of older informations).

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File URL: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/papers/1231.pdf
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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1231.

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Date of creation: Apr 1997
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1231
Contact details of provider: Postal: Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science, Northwestern University, 580 Jacobs Center, 2001 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-2014
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Web page: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/
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  1. Nahum Melumad & Dilip Mookherjee & Stefan Reichelstein, 1997. "Contract Complexity, Incentives, and the Value of Delegation," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(1), pages 257-289, 06.
  2. Radner, Roy, 1993. "The Organization of Decentralized Information Processing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1109-46, September.
  3. Lu Hong & Scott Page, 1994. "Reducing informational costs in endowment mechanisms," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 103-117, December.
  4. Williams, Steven R, 1986. "Realization and Nash Implementation: Two Aspects of Mechanism Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(1), pages 139-51, January.
  5. Laffont, J.J. & Martimort, D., 1996. "Collusion Under Asymmetric Information," Papers 95.389, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  6. Kenneth R. Mount & Stanley Reiter, 1990. "A Model of Computing with Human Agents," Discussion Papers 890, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Melumad, Nahum & Mookherjee, Dilip & Reichelstein, Stefan, 1992. "A theory of responsibility centers," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 445-484, December.
  8. Kieron Meagher & Timothy Van Zandt, 1998. "Managerial costs for one-shot decentralized information processing," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 329-345.
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