Division of Labour and Social Coordination Modes : A simple simulation model

Egidi, Massimo and Marengo, Luigi (1995) Division of Labour and Social Coordination Modes : A simple simulation model. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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    This paper presents a preliminary investigation of the relationship between the process of functional division of labour and the modes in which activities and plans are coordinated. We consider a very simple production process: a given heap of bank-notes has to be counted by a group of accountants. Because of limited individual capabilities and/or the possibilities of mistakes and external disturbances, the task has to be divided among several accountants and a hierarchical coordination problem arises. We can imagine several different ways of socially implementing coordination of devided tasks. 1) a central planner can compute the optimal architecture of the system; 2) a central planner can promote quantity adjustments by moving accountants from hierarchical levels where there exist idle resources to levels where resources are insufficient; 3) quasi-market mechanisms can use quantity or price signals for promoting decentralized adjustments. By means of a simple simulation model, based on Genetic Algorithms and Classifiers Systems, we can study the dynamic efficiency properties of each coordination mode and in particular their capability, speed and cost of adaptation to changing environmental situations (i.e. variations of the size of the task and/or variations of agents' capabilities). Such interesting issues as returns to scale, specialization and workers exploitation can be easily studied in the same model.

    Item Type: Departmental Technical Report
    Department or Research center: CEEL (Computable and Experimental Economics Laboratory)
    Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
    Report Number: 1
    Repository staff approval on: 19 Jan 2011

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