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Department of Economics pres.

Economic Theory: Fostering Collaboration

Elliot Lipnowski, University of Chicago

Economics Economics
Economics
Abstract

We study optimal project selection by a firm that must choose between different workers’ preferred projects. The firm faces a basic tradeoff between fostering collaboration among its employees and efficiently adapting its decisions to its circumstances. If the firm commits to choosing the project which is most profitable ex-post, it undermines its employees’ motive to collaborate, causing ex-ante inefficiency. We solve for the firm’s optimal policy. It entails an early phase of intense competition, followed by a permanent regime of collaboration. In service to ex-ante optimality, arbitrarily severe ex-post inefficiencies must be tolerated.

(joint with Joyee Deb and Aditya Kuvalekar)

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