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Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents

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  • Timothy Besley
  • Maitreesh Ghatak

Abstract

A unifying theme in the literature on organizations such as public bureaucracies and private nonprofits is the importance of mission, as opposed to profit, as an organizational goal. Such mission-oriented organizations are frequently staffed by motivated agents who subscribe to the mission. This paper studies incentives in such contexts and emphasizes the role of matching the mission preferences of principals and agents in increasing organizational efficiency. Matching economizes on the need for high-powered incentives. It can also, however, entrench bureaucratic conservatism and resistance to innovations. The framework developed in this paper is applied to school competition, incentives in the public sector and in private nonprofits, and the interdependence of incentives and productivity between the private for-profit sector and the mission-oriented sector through occupational choice.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2005. "Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 616-636, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:95:y:2005:i:3:p:616-636
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/0002828054201413
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • L33 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Comparison of Public and Private Enterprise and Nonprofit Institutions; Privatization; Contracting Out

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