Essays on the Effects of Organization on Production, Rent Distribution and Technology

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The first essay examines how the shift between single-tasking and multitasking influences productivity and workers' bargaining power, and its implications on the distribution of earnings between management and workers. Under single-tasking, a firm can obtain high productivity because workers' hold-up power can provide them with larger incentives to work. In contrast, a firm that uses multitasking reduces workers' hold-up power by making them substitutable, but the firm may lose productivity. This paper shows that a worker with specialized skills will earn a higher wage in single-tasking and that one with general skills will earn a higher wage in multitasking. Moreover, a shift by a firm from single-tasking to multitasking can widen the earnings gap between management and workers. Lastly this paper shows that the organization of production mediates the effect of technological change on relative earnings. The second essay examines the effect of control rights on decision to publish or patent research results. University researchers have substantial discretion over disclosure, while managers in non-academic organizations often direct researchers to patent their findings. Thus, the effect of control rights can be identified by using the shift from basic to commercializable knowledge because a manager has a greater incentive to protect the commercializable knowledge. The effect, however, may be confounded by the heterogeneity of research projects. To overcome this issue, this paper exploits multiple discoveries associated with a single human gene as a research path and a discovery of a gene's linkage to a disease that may spark commercially oriented research on that gene. Building on this variation of knowledge along research paths, the differences-in-differences estimate shows that over time, non-academic research organizations become less likely to publish and more likely to patent than universities. The third essay examines how the make-or-buy decision on corporate R&D is related to different types of innovations. The key trade-off in this decision is between time savings in the research stage and adaptation cost in the production stage. Specifically, the adaptation cost relative to the value of the product and the number of distinct goods to which the technology is applied will influence this trade-off. If the relative adaptation cost is high, and a technology is applied to a broad range of goods, a firm is likely to develop such technology in-house and the rate of innovation will be slower; if technology will generate a narrow range of goods, a firm tends to obtain the technology from the marketplace and the innovation rate will be rapid.

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  • 07/26/2018
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