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Monitoring your Friends, not your Foes: Strategic Ignorance and the Delegation of Real Authority

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  • Silvia Dominguez Martinez

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Randolph Sloof

    (University of Amsterdam)

  • Ferdinand von Siemens

    (University of Amsterdam, and CESifo)

Abstract

In this laboratory experiment we study the use of strategic ignorance to delegate real authority within a firm. A worker can gather information on investment projects, while a manager makes the implementation decision. The manager can monitor the worker. This allows her to better exploit the information gathered by the worker, but also reduces the worker's incentives to gather information in the first place. Both effects of monitoring are influenced by the interest alignment between manager and worker. Our data confirms the theoretical predictions that optimal monitoring depends non-monotonically on the level of interest alignment. We also find evidence for hidden costs of control and preferences for control, but these have no substantial effects on organizational outcomes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 10-101/1.

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Date of creation: 10 Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20100101

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

Related research

Keywords: Delegation; Real Authority; Strategic Ignorance;

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References

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  1. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  2. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  3. Baker, George & Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1999. "Informal Authority in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 56-73, April.
  4. Anders Poulsen & Michael Roos, 2010. "Do People Make Strategic Commitments? Experimental Evidence on Strategic Information Avoidance," University of East Anglia Applied and Financial Economics Working Paper Series 007, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  5. Dufwenberg, M. & Kirchsteiger, G., 1998. "A Theory of Sequential Reciprocity," Discussion Paper 1998-37, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  6. George Loewenstein & Don Moore & Roberto Weber, 2006. "Misperceiving the value of information in predicting the performance of others," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 281-295, September.
  7. Armin Falk & Michael Kosfeld, . "The Hidden Costs of Control," IEW - Working Papers 250, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  8. Nicolai J. Foss, 2001. "Selective Intervention and Internal HybridsInterpreting and Learning from the Rise and Decline of the Oticon Spaghetti Organization," DRUID Working Papers 01-16, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  9. Park, Albert & Shen, Minggao, 2008. "Refinancing and decentralization: Evidence from China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(3-4), pages 703-730, June.
  10. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," IDEI Working Papers 37, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  11. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
  13. Gul, Faruk, 2001. "Unobservable Investment and the Hold-Up Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 343-76, March.
  14. Strausz, Roland, 1997. "Delegation of Monitoring in a Principal-Agent Relationship," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 337-57, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Grossman, Zachary & van der Weele, Joël, 2013. "Self-Image and Strategic Ignorance in Moral Dilemmas," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0bp6z29t, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  2. Lai, Ernest K. & Lim, Wooyoung, 2012. "Authority and communication in the laboratory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 541-560.
  3. May Elsayyad & Kai A. Konrad, 2011. "Fighting Multiple Tax Havens," Working Papers fighting_multiple_tax_hav, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
  4. Ferdinand von Siemens, 2011. "Intention-Based Reciprocity and the Hidden Costs of Control," CESifo Working Paper Series 3553, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Ferdinand von Siemens, 2011. "Intention-Based Reciprocity and the Hidden Costs of Control," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-115/1, Tinbergen Institute.

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