Agency and Anxiety
AbstractIn 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 consider a version of the Holmstrom-Milgrom linear principal-agent model where the agent conforms to the inverted-U hypothesis and investigate the nature of the optimal linear contract. We find that although high-powered incentives can be demotivational, a profit-maximizing principal never offers them. In contrast, the principal may optimally engage in a demotivational level of monitoring. Moreover, since risk can be motivational, the principal may refrain from eliminating it even when monitoring is costless. Indeed, the principal may even add pure noise to the contract in order to motivate the agent, contradicting the informativeness principle. Finally, incentives and monitoring can be strategic substitutes or complements in our model.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy in its series Working Papers with number 2006-02.
Date of creation: Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: 1309 East Tenth Street, Room 451, Bloomington, IN 47405-1701
Web page: http://www.bus.indiana.edu/bepp/
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- L0 - Industrial Organization - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-03-10 (All new papers)
- NEP-BEC-2007-03-10 (Business Economics)
- NEP-CBE-2007-03-10 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Michael T. Rauh & Giulio Seccia, 2005.
"Anxiety and Performance: An Endogenous Learning-by-doing Model,"
2005-01, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
- Michael T. Rauh & Giulio Seccia, 2006. "Anxiety And Performance: An Endogenous Learning-By-Doing Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 583-609, 05.
- Vives, Xavier, 1990.
"Nash equilibrium with strategic complementarities,"
Journal of Mathematical Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 305-321.
- 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.
- Edward P. Lazear, 1996.
"Performance Pay and Productivity,"
NBER Working Papers
5672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
- 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.
- Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
- Dan Ariely & Uri Gneezy & George Loewenstein & Nina Mazar, 2005.
"Large stakes and big mistakes,"
05-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
- Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
- Bengt Holmstrom & Paul R. Milgrom, 1985.
"Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives,"
Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers
742, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-28, March.
- Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "Rationalizability, Learning, and Equilibrium in Games with Strategic Complementarities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1255-77, November.
- Loewenstein, George, 1987. "Anticipation and the Valuation of Delayed Consumption," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 666-84, September.
- Barkema, Harry G, 1995. "Do Top Managers Work Harder When They Are Monitored?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 19-42.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Rick Harbaugh).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.