Managerial Economics & Business Strategy Chapter 6 The Organization of the Firm

Michael R. Baye, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, 6e. ©The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008

Overview I. Methods of Procuring Inputs Q Q Q

Spot Exchange Contracts Vertical Integration

II. Transaction Costs Q

Specialized Investments

III. Optimal Procurement Input IV. Principal-Agent Problem Q Q

Owners-Managers Managers-Workers Michael R. Baye, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, 6e. ©The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008

Manager’s Role • Procure inputs in the least cost manner, like point B. • Provide incentives for workers to put forth effort. • Failure to accomplish this results in a point like A. • Achieving points like B managers must Q Q

Use all inputs efficiently. Acquire inputs by the least costly method.

Costs C(Q) A

$100 80

B

Q 0

10

Michael R. Baye, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, 6e. ©The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008

Methods of Procuring Inputs • Spot Exchange Q

When the buyer and seller of an input meet, exchange, and then go their separate ways.

• Contracts Q

A legal document that creates an extended relationship between a buyer and a seller.

• Vertical Integration Q

When a firm shuns other suppliers and chooses to produce an input internally. Michael R. Baye, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, 6e. ©The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008

Key Features • Spot Exchange Q

Q

Specialization, avoids contracting costs, avoids costs of vertical integration. Possible “hold-up problem.”

• Contracting Q

Q

Specialization, reduces opportunism, avoids skimping on specialized investments. Costly in complex environments.

• Vertical Integration Q Q

Reduces opportunism, avoids contracting costs. Lost specialization and may increase organizational costs. Michael R. Baye, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, 6e. ©The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008

Transaction Costs • Costs of acquiring an input over and above the amount paid to the input supplier. • Includes: Q Q Q

Search costs. Negotiation costs. Other required investments or expenditures.

• Some transactions are general in nature while others are specific to a trading relationship. Michael R. Baye, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, 6e. ©The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008

Specialized Investments • Investments made to allow two parties to exchange but has little or no value outside of the exchange relationship. • Types of specialized investments: Q Q Q Q

Site specificity. Physical-asset specificity. Dedicated assets. Human capital.

• Lead to higher transaction costs Q Q Q

Costly bargaining. Underinvestment. Opportunism and the hold-up problem. Michael R. Baye, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, 6e. ©The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008

Specialized Investments and Contract Length $ MC

MB1 Due to greater need for specialized investments MB0 Longer Contract 0

L0

L1

Michael R. Baye, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, 6e. ©The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008

Contract Length

Specialized Investments and Contract Length MC2

$ More complex contracting environment

MC0

MB0 Shorter Contract 0

L2

L0

Michael R. Baye, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, 6e. ©The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008

Contract Length

Specialized Investments and Contract Length $ MC0

MC1 Less complex contracting environment MB0

Longer Contract 0

L0

L0

Michael R. Baye, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, 6e. ©The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008

Contract Length

Optimal Input Procurement No Substantial specialized investments relative to contracting costs?

Yes

No Contract

Spot Exchange

Complex contracting environment relative to costs of integration?

Yes Vertical Integration

Michael R. Baye, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, 6e. ©The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008

The Principal-Agent Problem • Occurs when the principal cannot observe the effort of the agent. Q

Q

Example: Shareholders (principal) cannot observe the effort of the manager (agent). Example: Manager (principal) cannot observe the effort of workers (agents).

• The Problem: Principal cannot determine whether a bad outcome was the result of the agent’s low effort or due to bad luck. • Manager’s must recognize the existence of the principal-agent problem and devise plans to align the interests of workers with that of the firm. • Shareholders must create plans to align the interest of the manager with those of the shareholders. Michael R. Baye, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, 6e. ©The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008

Solving the Problem Between Owners and Managers • Internal incentives Q Q

Incentive contracts. Stock options, year-end bonuses.

• External incentives Q Q

Personal reputation. Potential for takeover.

Michael R. Baye, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, 6e. ©The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008

Solving the Problem Between Managers and Workers • • • •

Profit sharing Revenue sharing Piece rates Time clocks and spot checks

Michael R. Baye, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, 6e. ©The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008

Conclusion • The optimal method for acquiring inputs depends on the nature of the transactions costs and specialized nature of the inputs being procured. • To overcome the principal-agent problem, principals must devise plans to align the agents’ interests with the principals.

Michael R. Baye, Managerial Economics and Business Strategy, 6e. ©The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008

Managerial Economics & Business Strategy Chapter 6

Procure inputs in the least cost manner, like point B. • Provide incentives for workers to put forth effort. • Failure to accomplish this results in a point like A.

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