Beyond Markets and Hierarchies: Toward a New Synthesis of American Business History

65 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2002 Last revised: 5 Mar 2022

See all articles by Naomi R. Lamoreaux

Naomi R. Lamoreaux

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Yale University

Daniel M. G. Raff

University of Pennsylvania - Management Department

Peter Temin

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: June 2002

Abstract

We sketch a new synthesis of American business history to replace (and subsume) that put forward by Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., most famously in his book The Visible Hand (1977). We see the broader subject as the history of the institutions of coordination in the economy, with the management of information and the addressing of problems of informational asymmetries representing central problems for firm- and relationship design. Our analysis emphasizes the endogenous adoption of coordination mechanisms in the context of evolving but specific operating conditions and opportunities. This naturally gives rise both to change and to heterogeneity in the population of coordination mechanisms to be observed in use at any moment in time. In discussing the changes in the population of mechanisms over time, we seek to avoid the tendency, exemplified by Chandler's work but characteristic of the field, to see history of adoption in teleological rather than evolutionary perspective. We see a richer set of mechanisms in play than is conventional and a more complex historical process at work, in particular a process in which hierarchical institutions have both risen and, more recently, declined in significance.

Suggested Citation

Lamoreaux, Naomi R. and Lamoreaux, Naomi R. and Raff, Daniel M. G. and Temin, Peter, Beyond Markets and Hierarchies: Toward a New Synthesis of American Business History (June 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w9029, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=317614

Naomi R. Lamoreaux (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Yale University ( email )

27 Hillhouse
New Haven, CT 06520
United States
2034323625 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.yale.edu/faculty1/lamoreaux.htm

Daniel M. G. Raff

University of Pennsylvania - Management Department ( email )

The Wharton School
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370
United States

Peter Temin

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
E52-280a
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-3126 (Phone)
617-253-6915 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
127
Abstract Views
3,441
rank
307,245
PlumX Metrics