Case studies that examine how firms co-ordinate 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 co-ordination, but in the real world of incomplete information, some activities are better coordinated in other ways. Divided into three parts, this book addresses co-ordination within firms, at the borders of firms and outside firms, providing a picture of the overall incidence and logic of economic co-ordination. The case studies - drawn from the late 19th and early 20th century, when the modern business enterprise was evolving, address such issues as the relationship between co-ordination mechanisms and production techniques, the logic of co-ordination in industrial districts and the consequences of regulation for co-ordination.
Continuing the work on information and organization presented in "Inside the Business Enterprise", this book provides material that may be useful for business historians and economists who want to study the development of the dissemination of information and the co-ordination of economic activity within and between firms.
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 Comment Walter Licht 2: Industrial Engineering and the Industrial Enterprise, 1890-1940 Daniel Nelson Comment 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 Comment John Sutton 4: Organization and Coordination in Geographically Concentrated Industries Michael J. Enright Comment Kenneth L. Sokoloff 5: The Boundaries of the U.S. Firm in R&D David C. Mowery Comment Joel Mokyr 6: Legal Restraints on Economic Coordination: Antitrust in Great Britain and America, 1880-1920 Tony Freyer Comment Victor P. Goldberg 7: The Evolution of Interregional Mortgage Lending Channels, 1870-1940: The Life Insurance-Mortgage Company Connection Kenneth A. Snowden Comment Timothy W. Guinnane 8: The Costs of Rejecting Universal Banking: American Finance in the German Mirror, 1870-1914 Charles W. Calomiris Comment Peter Temin Contributors Name Index Subject Index