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Team Incentives and Organizational Form

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Conventional wisdom regarding nonprofit firms is that they are inefficient, due to the absence of a profit motive. However, the costs and product quality realized by profit-taking firms is determined by how well those firms deal with a host of internal incentive and information issues. A similar approach to the study of nonprofit organizations has not been attempted. This paper undertakes such an investigation, centered on the problem of providing incentives for members of a team to provide efficient effort. Holmstrom(1982) showed that the introduction of a budget-breaker, or principal, into a team allowed for the provision of such incentives where it would otherwise be impossible. A similar result obtains for a nonprofit team, but the role of principal differs from that found in profit-taking teams. It is shown that any of; donors, government regulators, or Trustees can fulfill this role in a nonprofit team. One implication of this is that nonprofit firms may indeed pay employees less than otherwise identical employees filling identical posts in profit-taking firms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics in its series UWO Department of Economics Working Papers with number 9916.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:uwo:uwowop:9916

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Postal: Department of Economics, Reference Centre, Social Science Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2
Phone: 519-661-2111 Ext.85244
Web page: http://economics.uwo.ca/research/research_papers/department_working_papers.html

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  1. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
  2. Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Separation of Ownership and Control," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 301-25, June.
  3. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  4. Patrick Legros & Steven Matthews, 1993. "Efficient and nearly efficient partnerships," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7040, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Bilodeau, Marc & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "Volunteering nonprofit entrepreneurial services," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 117-127, October.
  6. Marc Bilodeau & Al Slivinski, . "Rational Nonprofit Entrepreneurship," Industrial Organization 9405001, EconWPA.
  7. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 1998. "Nonprofit Production and Competition," NBER Working Papers 6377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Cremer, Jacques, 1986. "Cooperation in Ongoing Organizations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 33-49, February.
  10. Susan Rose-Ackerman, 1996. "Altruism, Nonprofits, and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 701-728, June.
  11. Fama, Eugene F & Jensen, Michael C, 1983. "Agency Problems and Residual Claims," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 327-49, June.
  12. Legros, Patrick & Matsushima, Hitoshi, 1991. "Efficiency in partnerships," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 296-322, December.
  13. Andolfatto, D., 1993. "Optimal Team Contracts," Working Papers 9306, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics.
  14. Weisbrod, Burton A, 1983. "Nonprofit and Proprietary Sector Behavior: Wage Differentials among Lawyers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(3), pages 246-63, July.
  15. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Patricia Crifo & Jean-Louis Rullière, 2004. "Incentives and Anonymity Principle: Crowding Out Toward Users," CESifo Working Paper Series 1316, CESifo Group Munich.

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