Michael Powell
Michael Powell

Associate Professor of Strategy

Print Overview

Michael Powell received his PhD in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Strategy Department. Prior to coming to Kellogg, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow of Applied Economics at the Sloan School of Management at MIT. Professor Powell's research interests include organizational economics and industrial organization. His research has focused on understanding how firms are organized and how their organization interacts with market equilibrium. His work has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Law, Economics & Organization, and American Economic Journal: Microeconomics.

Areas of Expertise
Contract Theory
Economics of Organizations
Industrial Organization

Print Vita
Ph.D, 2011, Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MA, 2006, Economics, University of California, Los Angeles
B.A., 2006, Economics, University of California, Los Angeles
A.A., 2003, Liberal Arts, West Valley College

Academic Positions
Assistant Professor of Management and Strategy, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2013-present
Donald P. Jacobs Scholar & Assistant Professor of Management & Strategy, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2012-2013
Postdoctoral Fellow in Applied Economics, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011-2012

Other Professional Experience
Program committee: NBER Organizational Economics (2009, 2011), 2009-2011
Referee for: American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Law and Economics, Journal of Public Economics

Honors and Awards
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2007-2011
MIT Presidential Fellowship, 2006-2008
UCLA Departmental Scholar in Economics, 2004-2006

Print Research
Powell, MichaelJin Li and Rongzhu Ke. 2018. Managing Careers in Organizations. Journal of Labor Economics.
Powell, MichaelNiko Matouschek and Jin Li. 2017. Power Dynamics in Organizations. American Economic Journal: Microeconomics.
Powell, Michael. 2015. An Influence-Cost Model of Organizational Practices and Firm Boundaries. Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization. 31(Suppl 1): i104-i1142.
Gibbons, Robert, Richard Holden and Michael Powell. 2012. Organization and Information: Firms' Governance Choices in Rational-Expectations Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics. 127(4): 1551-1609.
Working Papers
Powell, MichaelJin Li and Rongzhu Ke. 2018. The Firm-Growth Imperative: A Theory of Production and Personnel Management.
Barron, Daniel and Michael Powell. 2018. Markets for Rhetorical Ability.
Bianchi, Nicola, Giulia Bovini, Jin Li, Matteo Paradisi and Michael Powell. 2018. Chains of Opportunity Revisited: Evidence from Administrative Data.
Li, Jin and Michael Powell. 2018. Multilateral Interactions Improve Cooperation Under Random Fluctuations.
Powell, Michael. 2017. Productivity and Credibility in Industry Equilibrium.
Barron, Daniel and Michael Powell. 2018. Policies in Relational Contracts.
Frandsen, Brigham, Michael Powell and James Rebitzer. 2017. Sticking Points: Common-Agency Problems and Contracting in the U.S. Healthcare System.
Fehr, Ernst, Michael Powell and Tom Wilkening. 2017. Behavioral Constraints on the Design of Subgame-Perfect Implementation Mechanisms.

Print Teaching
Full-Time / Evening & Weekend MBA
Economics of Organizations I: Organizations and Markets (MECS-570-1)
Different firms are organized differently: decision-making can either be centralized or decentralized, rigid or flexible; incentives can be high-powered or flat; and firms can use either independent suppliers or in-house production. In order to understand how organizations interact in markets and influence the broader economy, we cannot view organizational practices as completely divorced from the underlying economic context. This course provides an introduction to the economics of organizations. To this end, it covers a variety of topics including incentives in organizations; delegation, cheap talk, and adaptation; firm boundaries, structures, and processes; and the interaction between organizations and markets.

Strategy and Organization (STRT-452-0)
This course was formerly known as MGMT 452
This course focuses on the link between organizational structure and strategy, making heavy use of the microeconomic tools taught in MECN-430. The core question students address is how firms should be organized to achieve their performance objectives. The first part of the course takes the firm's activities as given and studies the problem of organizational design; topics may include incentive pay, decentralization, transfer pricing, and complementarities. The second part examines the determinants of a firm's boundaries and may cover such topics as outsourcing, horizontal mergers, and strategic commitment.