We must conceptualize and measure separately decentralization and distribution



The terms “distributed” and “decentralized” have been used somewhat interchangeably in the fields of management and computer science to refer to the dispersion of authority, broadly speaking. Here, I distinguish between distribution as decision-making dispersion and decentralization as information dispersion to relax the implicit assumption that decision-making and information always go hand in hand (or the idea that agents who make decisions have, by design, access to relevant information, and vice versa). I then differentiate between distributed and decentralized organizations, and propose new measures to capture these two dimensions. Finally, I draw practical implications for regulating a wide range of platform organizations, ranging from Youtube and Facebook to Bitcoin and Ethereum, as well as conceptual implications for revisiting the elusive notion of power.

Zoom link: https://eur-nl.zoom.us/j/92267493520 

Meeting ID: 922 6749 3520