Authority and Information
37 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2010 Last revised: 16 Mar 2011
Date Written: February 2010
Authority often relies on information whose collection and transmission by subordinates its very exercise discourages. In this paper, we study how the allocation of authority affects the production, transmission, and strategic use of subjective intelligence relying on exhaustive data on credit decisions. Exploiting the exogenous variation in branch-headquarters distance we find that the center is more likely to delegate authority the further away line units are. Consistent with economic theory, more autonomous branches produce more soft information; conversely, the more information they produce, the more real authority they enjoy. Our findings also identify incentives to strategically use soft information in response to local competition as a further channel through which the delegation of authority affects investment success. Finally, we provide strong evidence that in equilibrium the delegation of authority helps to overcome distance related obstacles to corporate-decision making through subjective intelligence.
Keywords: Information, Authority, Small Business Lending, Banking, Soft Information
JEL Classification: L22, D83, D23, G21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation