Inside the Business Enterprise: Historical Perspectives on the Use of Information

Overview


How do business enterprises control their subunits? In what ways do existing paths of communication within a firm affect its ability to absorb new technology and techniques? How do American banks affect how companies operate? Do theoretical constructs correspond to actual behavior?

Because business enterprises are complex institutions, these questions can prove difficult to address. All too often, firms are treated as the atoms of economics, the irreducible unit of analysis. ...

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Inside the Business Enterprise: Historical Perspectives on the Use of Information

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Overview


How do business enterprises control their subunits? In what ways do existing paths of communication within a firm affect its ability to absorb new technology and techniques? How do American banks affect how companies operate? Do theoretical constructs correspond to actual behavior?

Because business enterprises are complex institutions, these questions can prove difficult to address. All too often, firms are treated as the atoms of economics, the irreducible unit of analysis. This accessible volume, suitable for course use, looks more closely at the American firm—into its internal workings and its genesis in the Gilded Age. Focusing on the crucial role of imperfect and asymmetric information in the operation of enterprises, Inside the Business Enterprise forges an innovative link between modern economic theory and recent business history.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A guide to approaching the policy, procedure, finance, and human resource issues that affect those in this profession. No bibliography. Six papers presented at a Conference on Microeconomic History at the National Bureau of Economic Research in October 1990 fall into three groups. The first two discuss the agency problems arising from scarce information, and accounting as a primary means of communication within large enterprises. The second two papers discuss the demand for and supply of information in two growing enterprises of the Gilded Age; and the final two papers turn to the interaction between industrial firms and financial intermediaries, again in relation to the Gilded Age. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Table of Contents


Introduction by Peter Temin
1. Business History and Recent Economic Theory: Imperfect Information, Incentives, and the Internal Organization of Firms
Daniel M. G. Raff and Peter Temin
Comment: David A. Hounshell
2. Managing by Remote Control: Recent Management Accounting Practice in Historical Perspective
H. Thomas Johnson
Comment: Peter Tufano
3. The Use of Cost Measures: The Dow Chemical Company, 1890-1914
Margaret Levenstein
Comment: Barry Supple
4. Investing the Information: Supply and Demand Forces in the Use of Information in American Firms, 1850-1920
JoAnne Yates
Comment: Bengt R. Holmstrom
5. Information Problems and Banks' Specialization in Short-Term Commercial Lending: New England in the Nineteenth Century
Naomi R. Lamoreaux
Comment: Charles W. Calomiris
6. Did J. P. Morgan's Men Add Value? An Economist's Perspective on Financial Capitalism
J. Bradford De Long
Comment: Charles F. Sabel
Contributors
Name Index
Subject Index
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