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Coordination and Information: Historical Perspectives on the Organization of Enterprise / Edition 2

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Overview

Case studies that examine how firms coordinate economic activity in the face of asymmetric information--information not equally available to all parties--are the focus of this volume.

In an ideal world, the market would be the optimal provider of coordination, but in the real world of incomplete information, some activities are better coordinated in other ways. Divided into three parts, this book addresses coordination within firms, at the borders of firms, and outside firms, providing a picture of the overall incidence and logic of economic coordination. The case studies--drawn from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, when the modern business enterprise was evolving, address such issues as the relationship between coordination mechanisms and production techniques, the logic of coordination in industrial districts, and the consequences of regulation for coordination.

Continuing the work on information and organization presented in the influential Inside the Business Enterprise, this book provides material for business historians and economists who want to study the development of the dissemination of information and the coordination of economic activity within and between firms.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Essays from the National Bureau of Economic Research conference explore the ways in which firms coordinate economic activity when information isn't equally available to all parties. Essays focus on coordination problems within the firm, beyond the boundaries of the firm, and between firms, and consider cases such as the coordination of business organization and technological innovation in an electric company in the 1880s, and antitrust in Great Britain and America in 1880-1920. Commentary follows each essay. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Naomi R. Lamoreaux is professor of economics and history at Yale University, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a research associate of the NBER.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: History and Theory in Search of One Another 1
1 The Puzzling Profusion of Compensation Systems in the Interwar Automobile Industry 13
Comment
2 Industrial Engineering and the Industrial Enterprise, 1890-1940 35
Comment
3 The Coordination of Business Organization and Technological Innovation within the Firm: A Case Study of the Thomson-Houston Electric Company in the 1880s 55
Comment
4 Organization and Coordination in Geographically Concentrated Industries 103
Comment
5 The Boundaries of the U.S. Firm in R&D 147
Comment
6 Legal Restraints on Economic Coordination: Antitrust in Great Britain and America, 1880-1920 183
Comment
7 The Evolution of Interregional Mortgage Lending Channels, 1870-1940: The Life Insurance-Mortgage Company Connection 209
Comment
8 The Costs of Rejecting Universal Banking: American Finance in the German Mirror, 1870-1914 257
Comment
Contributors 323
Name Index 325
Subject Index 333
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