AbstractHow should a principal delegate a task to an agent? This paper studies the choice of an agent's discretion as a contracting problem. We show that the agent's freedom of action can be used as an effective incentive device: the agent's initiative is determined by the discretion he has in decision making. Due to this incentive effect the relationship between the severity of the conflict of principal's and agent's interests and the agent's optimal discretion in decision making is potentially non-monotonic: it may be optimal to curtail a subordinate's authority over decision making even if there are no conflicting interests concerning that decision. Our theory provides a rationale for commonly observed phenomena such as ''demanding clear statements'' from advisors or ''imposing an innovation bias'' on an organizational structure.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 0749.
Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
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Other versions of this item:
- Szalay, Dezsö, 2000. "Optimal Delegation," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, UniversitÃ¤t Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim 00-29, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
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- Jean Tirole, 1999. "Incomplete Contracts: Where Do We Stand?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 741-782, July.
- Andreas Roider, 2003.
"Delegation of Authority as an Optimal (In)complete Contract,"
Bonn Econ Discussion Papers, University of Bonn, Germany
bgse8_2003, University of Bonn, Germany, revised Aug 2004.
- Andreas Roider, 2006. "Delegation of Authority as an Optimal (In)Complete Contract," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 162(3), pages 391-411, September.
- Roider, Andreas, 2004. "Delegation of Authority as an Optimal (In)complete Contract," IZA Discussion Papers 1298, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Krähmer, Daniel, 2002. "Delegation versus authority," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance FS IV 02-26, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
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