Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The lure of authority: Motivation and incentive effects of power

Contents:

Author Info

  • Ernst Fehr
  • Holger Herz
  • Tom Wilkening

Abstract

Authority and power permeate political, social, and economic life, but empirical knowledge about the motivational origins and consequences of authority is limited. We study the motivation and incentive effects of authority experimentally in an authority- delegation game. Individuals often retain authority even when its delegation is in their material interest - suggesting that authority has non-pecuniary consequences for utility. Authority also leads to over-provision of effort by the controlling parties, while a large percentage of subordinates under-provide effort despite pecuniary incentives to the contrary. Authority thus has important motivational consequences that exacerbate the inefficiencies arising from suboptimal delegation choices.

Download Info

If 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.
File URL: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/static/wp/econwp099.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 099.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:099

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Blümlisalpstrasse 10, CH-8006 Zürich
Phone: +41-1-634 22 05
Fax: +41-1-634 49 07
Email:
Web page: http://www.econ.uzh.ch/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Organizational behavior; incentives; experiments and contracts;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
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.:
as in new window
  1. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
  2. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Risk Aversion and Expected Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7667, David K. Levine.
  4. Dessein, Wouter, 2002. "Authority and Communication in Organizations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(4), pages 811-38, October.
  5. Mariana Blanco & Dirk Engelmann & Alexander Koch & Hans-Theo Normann, 2010. "Belief elicitation in experiments: is there a hedging problem?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 412-438, December.
  6. Björn Bartling & Urs Fischbacher, 2008. "Shifting the Blame: On Delegation and Responsibility," TWI Research Paper Series 32, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
  7. 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.
  8. Philippe Aghion & Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Rey, 2004. "Transferable Control," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(1), pages 115-138, 03.
  9. Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis., 1988. "Contested Exchange: Political Economy and Modern Economic Theory," Economics Working Papers 8876, University of California at Berkeley.
  10. Lucas C. Coffman, 2011. "Intermediation Reduces Punishment (and Reward)," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 77-106, November.
  11. E. Fehr & John A. List, . "The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives - Trust and Trustworthiness among CEOs," IEW - Working Papers 134, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  12. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2005. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000341, UCLA Department of Economics.
  13. Emel Filiz-Ozbay & Erkut Y. Ozbay, 2007. "Auctions with Anticipated Regret: Theory and Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1407-1418, September.
  14. Baker, George & Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1999. "Informal Authority in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 56-73, April.
  15. Gary Charness & Ramon Cobo-Reyes & Natalia Jimenez & Juan A. Lacomba & Francisco Lagos, 2012. "The Hidden Advantage of Delegation: Pareto Improvements in a Gift Exchange Game," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2358-79, August.
  16. Datta, Somnath & Satten, Glen A., 2005. "Rank-Sum Tests for Clustered Data," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 100, pages 908-915, September.
  17. Sliwka, Dirk, 1999. "On the Costs and Benefits of Delegation in Organizations," Discussion Paper Serie A 600, University of Bonn, Germany.
  18. John R. Hamman & George Loewenstein & Roberto A. Weber, 2010. "Self-Interest through Delegation: An Additional Rationale for the Principal-Agent Relationship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1826-46, September.
  19. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
  1. The Lure of Authority: Motivation and Incentive Effects of Power (AER 2013) in ReplicationWiki

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:099. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marita Kieser).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.