DP8372 Organizational Economics with Cognitive Costs

Author(s): Luis Garicano, Andrea Prat
Publication Date: May 2011
Keyword(s): activity data, cognitive cost, organization, organizational language, team theory
JEL(s): D2, D8, L2, M5
Programme Areas: Industrial Organization
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=8372

Organizational economics has advanced along two parallel tracks, one concerned with motivating agents with diverging objectives, the other--less developed--with coordinating agents under cognitive limits. This survey focuses on the second strand and attempts to bring the two strands together. Organizations are viewed as responses to the cognitive costs faced by their (potential) members. We review existing approaches such as team theory, hierarchies of processors, organizational languages and knowledge hierarchies and we argue that they can help us address an array of important organizational issues. We also review recent developments in the application of these ideas: exploiting complexity measures, combining team theory and contract theory, applying organization theories in labor economics, and using these theories to interpret the wealth of activity data that is becoming available.