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Trust in Agency

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  • Ramon Casadesus-Masanell
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    Abstract

    Existing models of the principal-agent relationship assume the agent works only under extrinsic incentives. However, many observed agency contracts take the form of a fixed payment. For such contracts to work, the principal must trust the agent to work in the absence of incentives. I show that agency fosters the advent of intrinsic motivation and trustworthy behavior. Three distinct motivational schemes are analyzed: norms, ethical standards, and altruism. I identify conditions under which these mechanisms arise and show how they promote trust. The analysis alters several important predictions of conventional models: (1) Better outcomes may ensue in highly uncertain environments; (2) the principal is better off the more the agent is risk averse; and (3) larger equilibrium extrinsic incentives need not be associated with larger effort or larger total surplus. Copyright 2004 Blackwell Publishing, 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA, and 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK..

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Economics & Management Strategy.

    Volume (Year): 13 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 3 (09)
    Pages: 375-404

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    Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:13:y:2004:i:3:p:375-404

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    Web page: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/journals/JEMS/

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    Cited by:
    1. Nicola Lacetera & Lorenzo Zirulia, 2011. "Individual Preferences, Organization, and Competition in a Model of R&D Incentive Provision," NBER Working Papers 17031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bodo E. Steiner, 2007. "Negotiated transfer pricing: Theory and implications for value chains in agribusiness," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 279-292.
    3. Ramalingam, Abhijit, 2009. ""Endogenous" Relative Concerns: The Impact of Workers' Characteristics on Status and Pro ts in the Firm," MPRA Paper 18759, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. L. Bottazzi & M. Da Rin & T. Hellmann, 2007. "The Importance of Trust for Investment: Evidence from Venture Capital," Working Papers 612, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    5. Michael T. Rauh & Giulio Seccia, 2005. "Incentives, Monitoring, and Motivation," Game Theory and Information 0506008, EconWPA.
    6. Christian Lukas & Jens Robert Schöndube, 2008. "Trust and Adaptive Learning in Implicit Contracts," FEMM Working Papers 08017, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    7. Matthias Bürker & G. Alfredo Minerva, 2012. "Civic Capital and the Size Distribution of Plants: Short-Run Dynamics and Long-Run Equilibrium," Working Papers 2012.81, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    8. Eduard Alonso-Paulí, 2007. "The Adoption of a Code of Best Practice: Incentive Implications," Working Papers 07.18, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
    9. Michael T. Rauh, 2007. "Incentives, Solidarity, and the Division of Labor," Working Papers 2007-15, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    10. Charness, Gary B & Cabrales, Antonio, 2008. "Optimal Contracts With Team Production And Hidden Information: An Experiment," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt3bb3p3t3, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    11. Abhijit Ramalingam & Michael Rauh, 2008. "Firms, Markets, and the Work Ethic," Working Papers 2008-04, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    12. Arce, Daniel G., 2013. "Principals’ preferences for agents with social preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 154-163.
    13. Hiller, Victor & Verdier, Thierry, 2014. "Corporate culture and identity investment in an industry equilibrium," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 93-112.
    14. Dur, Robert & Tichem, Jan, 2013. "Altruism and Relational Incentives in the Workplace," IZA Discussion Papers 7363, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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