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Agency and Anxiety

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  • Michael T. Rauh
  • Giulio Seccia

Abstract

"In this paper, we introduce the psychological concept of anxiety into agency theory. An important benchmark in the anxiety literature is the inverted-U hypothesis, which states that an increase in anxiety improves performance when anxiety is low, but reduces it when anxiety is high. We show that the inverted-U hypothesis is consistent with evidence that high-powered incentives can reduce the agent's optimal effort and expected performance. In equilibrium, however, a profit-maximizing principal never offers such counterproductive incentives. We also show that the inverted-U hypothesis can explain empirical anomalies related to monitoring, the informativeness principle, and the risk-reward tradeoff." Copyright (c) 2010, The Author(s) Journal Compilation (c) 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc..

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 19 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 87-116

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:19:y:2010:i:1:p:87-116

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  1. Baker, George P & Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1988. " Compensation and Incentives: Practice vs. Theory," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 593-616, July.
  2. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Pay Enough Or Don'T Pay At All," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810, August.
  3. Vives, X., 1988. "Nash Equilibrium With Strategic Complementarities," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 107-88, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  4. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "Rationalizability, Learning, and Equilibrium in Games with Strategic Complementarities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1255-77, November.
  5. Edward P. Lazear, 2000. "Performance Pay and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1346-1361, December.
  6. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-28, March.
  7. Loewenstein, George, 1987. "Anticipation and the Valuation of Delayed Consumption," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 666-84, September.
  8. Dan Ariely & Uri Gneezy & George Loewenstein & Nina Mazar, 2005. "Large stakes and big mistakes," Working Papers 05-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  9. Barkema, Harry G, 1995. "Do Top Managers Work Harder When They Are Monitored?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 19-42.
  10. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
  11. Michael T. Rauh & Giulio Seccia, 2005. "Anxiety and Performance: An Endogenous Learning-by-doing Model," Working Papers 2005-01, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  12. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
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