Julio J. Rotemberg

Power in Profit-Maximizing Organizations

I study how profit-maximizing organizations make decisions. Members of organizations tend to have incompatible preferences over decisions, but willingness to pay for decisions plays a very limited role in actual decision making. A sizable empirical literature documents that people who provide critical services, are hard to replace, or deal effectively with external shocks are powerful; they have disproportionate influence over decisions. This can be profit maximizing because the right to shape the firm through its decisions renders the firm more attractive as an employer. Thus, the relative costliness of employees’ departures should affect their relative power.