Discussion paper

DP13513 Organizational Capital, Corporate Leadership, and Firm Dynamics

We argue that economists have studied the role of management from three perspectives: contingency theory (CT), an organization-centric empirical approach (OC), and a leader-centric empirical approach (LC). To reconcile these three perspectives, we augment a standard dynamic firm model with organizational capital, an intangible, slow-moving, productive asset that can only be produced with the direct input of the firm's leadership and that is subject to an agency problem. We characterize the steady state of an economy with imperfect governance, and show that it rationalizes key findings of CT, OC, and LC, as well as generating a number of new predictions on performance, management practices, CEO behavior, CEO compensation, and governance.


Dessein, W and A Prat (2019), ‘DP13513 Organizational Capital, Corporate Leadership, and Firm Dynamics‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 13513. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp13513