IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/qld/uq2004/362.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Hierarchical Structure of the Firm: A Geometric Perspective

Author

Abstract

This paper incorporates hierarchical structure into the neoclassical theory of the firm. Firms are hierarchical in two respects: the organization of workers in production and the wage structure. The firm’s hierarchy is represented as a sector of a circle, where the radius represents the hierarchy’s height, the width of the sector represents the breadth of the hierarchy at a given height, and the angle of the sector represents span of control. A perfectly competitive firm chooses height and width, as well as capital, in order to maximize profit. We analyze the short run and long run impact of changes in scale economies, input substitutability, and input and output prices on the firm’s hierarchical structure. We find that the firm grows as the specialization of its workers increases or as its output price increases relative to input prices. The effect of changes in scale economies is contingent on the price of output. The model also brings forth an analysis of wage inequality within the firm, which is found to be independent of the firm’s hierarchical organization of workers, and only depends on the firm’s wage schedule.

Suggested Citation

  • Kam Ki Tang & Leopoldo Yanes, 2008. "The Hierarchical Structure of the Firm: A Geometric Perspective," Discussion Papers Series 362, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  • Handle: RePEc:qld:uq2004:362
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.uq.edu.au/economics/abstract/362.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Garrouste, Pierre & Saussier, Stephane, 2005. "Looking for a theory of the firm: Future challenges," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 178-199.
    2. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    3. Yingyi Qian, 1994. "Incentives and Loss of Control in an Optimal Hierarchy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 527-544.
    4. Dubey, Pradeep & Haimanko, Ori, 2003. "Optimal scrutiny in multi-period promotion tournaments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, pages 1-24.
    5. Lloyd S. Shapley & Jorge R. Palamara, 2000. "Simple Games and Authority Structure," UCLA Economics Working Papers 796, UCLA Department of Economics.
    6. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 2001. "The Firm as a Dedicated Hierarchy: A Theory of the Origins and Growth of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 805-851.
    7. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2005. "On the Design of Hierarchies: Coordination versus Specialization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 675-702, August.
    8. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    9. Hu, Xingwei & Shapley, Lloyd S., 2003. "On authority distributions in organizations: equilibrium," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 132-152, October.
    10. Hu, Xingwei & Shapley, Lloyd S., 2003. "On authority distributions in organizations: controls," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 153-170, October.
    11. Kam Ki Tang & Leopoldo Yanes, 2008. "The Hierarchical Structure of the Firm: A Geometric Perspective," Discussion Papers Series 362, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    12. Oliver E. Williamson, 1967. "Hierarchical Control and Optimum Firm Size," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 123-123.
    13. Wernerfelt, Birger, 1997. "On the Nature and Scope of the Firm: An Adjustment-Cost Theory," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70(4), pages 489-514, October.
    14. Kam Ki Tang & Rodney Beard & Evelyn Ng & Leopoldo Yanes, 2005. "The hierarchical structure of a firm: a geometric approach," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 12(13), pages 1-7.
    15. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:12:y:2005:i:13:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Teece, David J., 1980. "Economies of scope and the scope of the enterprise," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 223-247, September.
    17. Kam Ki Tang & Leopoldo Yanes, 2009. "The hierarchical structure of the firm: a geometric perspective," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2009(2), pages 156-175.
    18. Luis Garicano, 2000. "Hierarchies and the Organization of Knowledge in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 874-904, October.
    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. Luis Façanha & Marcelo Resende, 2010. "Determinants of hierarchical structure in industrial firms: an empirical study," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 295-308, June.
    2. Kam Ki Tang & Leopoldo Yanes, 2008. "The Hierarchical Structure of the Firm: A Geometric Perspective," Discussion Papers Series 362, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    3. Luis Otávio Façanha & Marcelo Resende, 2006. "Hierarchical Structure in Brazilian Industrial Firms: an Econometric Study," Economics Working Papers ECO2006/1, European University Institute.
    4. Kam Ki Tang & Leopoldo Yanes, 2009. "The hierarchical structure of the firm: a geometric perspective," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2009(2), pages 156-175.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Theory of the firm; Hierarchical structure; Economies of scale; Input substitutability; Inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

    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:qld:uq2004:362. 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: (SOE IT). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/decuqau.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.