The Relationship Between Delegation and Incentives Across Occupations: Evidence and Theory
AbstractA large literature, both theoretical and empirical, suggests that delegation of authority and incentives should have a positive relationship. Using data from a large cross section of British establishments, we show that the positive relationship between incentives and delegation that has been consistently documented in the empirical literature masks a stark difference between job types. We classify jobs into two categories: complex jobs include professional, technical and scientific occupations and simple jobs consist of all other occupations with a lower-level code in the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. We find that for simple jobs, the relationship between delegation and incentives is positive as has been found in the previous literature, whereas for complex jobs it is negative. To explain this negative relationship for complex jobs, we develop a model where tasks have a risk-return tradeoff and where a single performance measure has to induce both task selection and effort. We find that if tasks vary sufficiently by risk and return and if effort is noisy to measure, then delegation and incentives have a negative relationship.
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 University of Sydney, School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2013-05.
Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
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.:
- Hirshleifer, David & Suh, Yoon, 1992. "Risk, managerial effort, and project choice," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 308-345, September.
- Alonso, Ricardo & Matouschek, Niko, 2005.
CEPR Discussion Papers
5289, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Susan Athey & John Roberts, 2001. "Organizational Design: Decision Rights and Incentive Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 200-205, May.
- Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994.
"Formal and Real Authority in Organizations,"
IDEI Working Papers
37, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 95-8, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Scholarly Articles 4554125, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Bester, Helmut & Krahmer, Daniel, 2007.
"Delegation and Incentives,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
6042, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
- Van den Steen, Eric, 2005. "Too Motivated?," Working papers 18180, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
- Michael Raith, 2008.
"Specific knowledge and performance measurement,"
RAND Journal of Economics,
RAND Corporation, vol. 39(4), pages 1059-1079.
- Thomas Hellmann & Veikko Thiele, 2011. "Incentives and Innovation: A Multitasking Approach," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 78-128, February.
- Ederer, Florian & Manso, Gustavo, 2009. "Is Pay-For-Performance Detrimental to Innovation?," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt03t787q9, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Avery, Christopher & Chevalier, Judith A & Schaefer, Scott, 1998. "Why Do Managers Undertake Acquisitions? An Analysis of Internal and External Rewards for Acquisitiveness," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(1), pages 24-43, April.
- Neal, Derek, 1995. "Industry-Specific Human Capital: Evidence from Displaced Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 653-77, October.
- OWAN Hideo & NAGAOKA Sadao, 2011. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations of Inventors," Discussion papers 11022, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
- Dilip Mookherjee, 2006.
"Decentralization, Hierarchies, and Incentives: A Mechanism Design Perspective,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 44(2), pages 367-390, June.
- Dilip Mookherjee, 2005. "Decentralization, Hierarchies and Incentives: A Mechanism Design Perspective," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-034, Boston University - Department of Economics, revised Sep 2005.
- Jed Devaro & Fidan Ana Kurtulus, 2011. "An Empirical Analysis of Risk, Incentives and The Delegation of Worker Authority," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2011-13, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
- Massimo G. Colombo & Marco Delmastro, 2004. "Delegation of Authority In Business Organizations: An Empirical Test," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 53-80, 03.
- Gustavo Manso, 2011. "Motivating Innovation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(5), pages 1823-1860, October.
- Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Vanessa Holcombe).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.