Creator: Blume, Andreas and Franco, April Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 299 Abstract:
We study decentralized learning in organizations. Decentralization is captured through a symmetry constraint on agents’ strategies. Among such attainable strategies, we solve for optimal and equilibrium strategies. We model the organization as a repeated game with imperfectly observable actions. A fixed but unknown subset of action profiles are successes and all other action profiles are failures. The game is played until either there is a success or the time horizon is reached. For any time horizon, including infinity, we demonstrate existence of optimal attainable strategies and show that they are Nash equilibria. For some time horizons, we can solve explicitly for the optimal attainable strategies and show uniqueness. The solution connects the learning behavior of agents to the fundamentals that characterize the organization: Agents in the organization respond more slowly to failure as the future becomes more important, the size of the organization increases and the probability of success decreases.
Keyword: Decentralized Learning, Organizations, and Game Theory Subject (JEL): D21 - Firm Behavior: Theory and C70 - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory: General
Creator: Camargo, Braz and Pastorino, Elena Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 475 Abstract:
We analyze commitment to employment in an environment in which an infinitely lived firm faces a sequence of finitely lived workers who differ in their ability to produce output. A worker’s ability is initially unknown to both the worker and the firm. A worker’s effort affects the information on ability conveyed by his performance. We characterize equilibria and show that they display commitment to employment only when effort has a persistent but delayed impact on output. In this case, by providing insurance against early termination, commitment to employment encourages workers to exert effort, thus improving the firm’s ability to identify workers’ talent. The incentive value of commitment to retention helps explain the use of probationary appointments in environments in which there is uncertainty about individual ability.
Keyword: Commitment, Learning, Career concerns, and Retention Subject (JEL): D21 - Firm Behavior: Theory, C73 - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games; Repeated Games, D83 - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness, and J41 - Labor Contracts
Creator: Holmes, Thomas J., Levine, David K., and Schmitz, James Andrew Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 402 Abstract:
Arrow (1962) argued that since a monopoly restricts output relative to a competitive industry, it would be less willing to pay a fixed cost to adopt a new technology. Arrow’s idea has been challenged and critiques have shown that under different assumptions, increases in competition lead to less innovation. We develop a new theory of why a monopolistic industry innovates less than a competitive industry. The key is that firms often face major problems in integrating new technologies. In some cases, upon adoption of technology, firms must temporarily reduce output. We call such problems switchover disruptions. If firms face switchover disruptions, then a cost of adoption is the forgone rents on the sales of lost or delayed production, and these opportunity costs are larger the higher the price on those lost units. In particular, with greater monopoly power, the greater the forgone rents. This idea has significant consequences since if we add switchover disruptions to standard models, then the critiques of Arrow lose their force: competition again leads to greater adoption. In addition, we show that our model helps explain the accumulating evidence that competition leads to greater adoption (whereas the standard models cannot).
Subject (JEL): D21 - Firm Behavior: Theory, L14 - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation; Networks, D42 - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design: Monopoly, O33 - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes, L12 - Monopoly; Monopolization Strategies, and O32 - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew, Hellwig, Christian, and Ordonez, Guillermo Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 464 Abstract:
In all markets, firms go through a process of creative destruction: entry, random growth and exit. In many of these markets there are also regulations that restrict entry, possibly distorting this process. We study the public interest rationale for entry taxes in a general equilibrium model with free entry and exit of firms in which firm dynamics are driven by reputation concerns. In our model firms can produce high-quality output by making a costly but efficient initial unobservable investment. If buyers never learn about this investment, an extreme “lemons problem” develops, no firm invests, and the market shuts down. Learning introduces reputation incentives such that a fraction of entrants do invest. We show that, if the market operates with spot prices, entry taxes always enhance the role of reputation to induce investment, improving welfare despite the impact of these taxes on equilibrium prices and total production.
Keyword: Entry and exit, Creative destruction, Firm dynamics, General equilibrium, Regulation, and Reputation Subject (JEL): D21 - Firm Behavior: Theory, L15 - Information and Product Quality; Standardization and Compatibility, L51 - Economics of Regulation, and D82 - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design