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Reciprocity and the Costs of Authority Relationships

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  • Nabil I. Al-Najjar
  • Chris Forman
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    Abstract

    Authority relationships are viewed as reciprocal exchange in which a principal offers rents in return for subordinates' compliance with his authority. These rents induce compliance by creating a collective action problem among subordinates so they free-ride on each other in challenging the principal's authority. As a consequence of the payment of these rents, the cost of exercising authority may distort the principal's ex ante choice of internal authority relationship as an organizational form, relative to market exchange or formal, arms-length contracting.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1281.

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    Date of creation: May 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1281

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    1. Ledyard, John O. & Palfrey, Thomas R., . "Voting and Lottery Drafts as Efficient Public Goods Mechanisms," Working Papers 717, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    2. Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    3. Rob, Rafael, 1989. "Pollution claim settlements under private information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 307-333, April.
    4. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
    5. Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1990. "Asymmetric Information Bargaining Problems with Many Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 351-67, July.
    6. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Organizational Design and Technology Choice under Intrafirm Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 195-222, March.
    7. Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1990. "Workers versus Firms: Bargaining over a Firm's Value," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 369-80, July.
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    Cited by:
    1. Al-Najjar, Nabil I., 2001. "A reputational model of authority," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 165-191, October.

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