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Worker Discretion and Misallocation of Talent within Firms


Author Info

  • Hans K. Hvide

    (Department of Finance, Norwegian School of Economics and Business)

  • Todd Kaplan

    (Department of Economics, University of Exeter)


We develop a theory of worker discretion over task choice within a firm. Increasing the workers’ discretion has a trade-off between the gains from workers using private information about their abilities, and the costs from adverse selection within the firm due to workers herding into prestigious tasks. The theory leads to the result that, in line with the Peter Principle, misallocation of talent within firms takes the form of too many workers undertaking tasks with a high return to ability. Moreover we find that the degree of misallocation of talent is decreasing in the degree of discretion given to workers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Exeter University, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 0108.

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Date of creation: Oct 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:exe:wpaper:0108

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Related research

Keywords: Authority; Bureaucracies; Career Concerns; Discretion; Organizational Design; Misallocation; Peter Principle; Principal-Agent Theory; Sun Hydraulics; Wage Dynamics;

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  1. The economic cost of the X Factor
    by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2011-11-23 14:33:46


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