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Coordination and Information

Historical Perspectives on the Organization of Enterprise

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.

345 pages | 2 halftones, 6 line drawings, 26 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1995

National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report

Economics and Business: Business--Business Economics and Management Studies, Economics--History

Table of Contents

Introduction: History and Theory in Search of One Another
Naomi R. Lamoreaux, Daniel M. G. Raff.
1: The Puzzling Profusion of Compensation Systems in the Interwar
Automobile Industry
Daniel M. G. Raff
Walter Licht
2: Industrial Engineering and the Industrial Enterprise, 1890-1940
Daniel Nelson
Michael J. Piore
3: The Coordination of Business Organization and Technological Innovation
within the Firm: A Case Study of the Thomson-Houston Electric Company in
the 1880s
W. Bernard Carlson
John Sutton
4: Organization and Coordination in Geographically Concentrated Industries
Michael J. Enright
Kenneth L. Sokoloff
5: The Boundaries of the U.S. Firm in R&D
David C. Mowery
Joel Mokyr
6: Legal Restraints on Economic Coordination: Antitrust in Great Britain
and America, 1880-1920
Tony Freyer
Victor P. Goldberg
7: The Evolution of Interregional Mortgage Lending Channels, 1870-1940: The
Life Insurance-Mortgage Company Connection
Kenneth A. Snowden
Timothy W. Guinnane
8: The Costs of Rejecting Universal Banking: American Finance in the German
Mirror, 1870-1914
Charles W. Calomiris
Peter Temin
Name Index
Subject Index

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