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Management Quality, Firm Organization and International Trade

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  • Cheng Chen

    (The University of Hong Kong)

Abstract

The quality of management technology that is used to monitor and incentivize workers varies substantially across countries. To understand the impact of this on economic activities, I develop a two-sector model in which firms facing heterogeneous demands set up hierarchies to manage the production processes in a monopolistically competitive sector. Entrepreneurs decide the number of hierarchical layers, the effort level of each worker, and the span of control of supervisors. I then use the theory to explain two empirical findings established in the literature. First, a common improvement in this type of management technology across all firms intensifies competition in the monopolistically competitive sector. As a result, the smallest firms are forced to leave the market; the most efficient firms thrive; the average firm size increases. Second, firms are less decentralized in economies with ineffective management technology. In an extended two-country model incorporating international trade, I show that firms facing increasing import competition flatten their hierarchies and use more incentive-based pay. Furthermore, I find that countries with superior management technology experience larger welfare gains from opening up to trade and have larger trade shares.

Suggested Citation

  • Cheng Chen, 2015. "Management Quality, Firm Organization and International Trade," 2015 Meeting Papers 53, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed015:53
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Meagher, Kieron J., 2003. "Generalizing incentives and loss of control in an optimal hierarchy: the role of information technology," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 273-280, February.
    2. Michael Keren & David Levhari, 1979. "The Optimum Span of Control in a Pure Hierarchy," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(11), pages 1162-1172, November.
    3. Lorenzo Caliendo & Ferdinando Monte & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2015. "The Anatomy of French Production Hierarchies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(4), pages 809-852.
    4. Erica L. Groshen & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "The Structure of Supervision and Pay in Hospitals," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 134-1-146-, April.
    5. Rebitzer, James B., 1995. "Is there a trade-off between supervision and wages? An empirical test of efficiency wage theory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 107-129, September.
    6. Bradley T. Ewing & James E. Payne, 1999. "The Trade-Off Between Supervision and Wages: Evidence of Efficiency Wages from the NLSY," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 424-432, October.
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