IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aecrev/v96y2006i5p1611-1630.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Hidden Costs of Control*

* This paper has been replicated

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Kosfeld
  • Armin Falk

Abstract

We analyze the consequences of control on motivation in an experimental principalagent game, where the principal can control the agent by implementing a minimum performance requirement before the agent chooses a productive activity. Our results show that control entails hidden costs since most agents reduce their performance as a response to the principal?s controlling decision. Overall, the effect of control on the principal?s payoff is nonmonotonic. When asked for their emotional perception of control, most agents who react negatively say that they perceive the controlling decision as a signal of distrust and a limitation of their choice autonomy. (JEL D82, Z13)

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Kosfeld & Armin Falk, 2006. "The Hidden Costs of Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1611-1630, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:5:p:1611-1630
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.96.5.1611
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.96.5.1611
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/dec06/20040599_data.zip
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/dec06/20040599_app.pdf
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gächter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
    2. Sliwka, Dirk, 2003. "On the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," IZA Discussion Papers 844, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2002. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 817-869.
    4. Gneezy, Uri & Rustichini, Aldo, 2000. "A Fine is a Price," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-17, January.
    5. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 2001. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device," Levine's Working Paper Archive 563824000000000143, David K. Levine.
    6. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1998. "Incomplete Contracts and Strategic Ambiguity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 902-932, September.
    7. Gary Charness, 2004. "Attribution and Reciprocity in an Experimental Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 665-688, July.
    8. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
    9. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    10. Ernst Fehr & Georg Kirchsteiger & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 437-459.
    11. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gachter & Georg Kirchsteiger, 1997. "Reciprocity as a Contract Enforcement Device: Experimental Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 833-860, July.
    12. Allen, Franklin & Gale, Douglas, 1992. "Measurement Distortion and Missing Contingencies in Optimal Contracts," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
    13. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
    14. Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, 1999. "Wage Rigidity in a Competitive Incomplete Contract Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 106-134, February.
    15. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2006. "Promises and Partnership," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1579-1601, November.
    16. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2003. "On the Nature of Fair Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(1), pages 20-26, January.
    17. Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004. "The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives-Trust and Trustworthiness Among CEOs," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 743-771, September.
    18. Bauer, Thomas K., 2004. "High Performance Workplace Practices and Job Satisfaction: Evidence from Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 1265, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Nöldeke, Georg & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1995. "Option contracts and renegotiation," Munich Reprints in Economics 19329, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    20. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
    21. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    22. Aghion, Philippe & Dewatripont, Mathias & Rey, Patrick, 1994. "Renegotiation Design with Unverifiable Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 257-282, March.
    23. Forsythe Robert & Horowitz Joel L. & Savin N. E. & Sefton Martin, 1994. "Fairness in Simple Bargaining Experiments," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 347-369, May.
    24. Kathryn E. Spier, 1992. "Incomplete Contracts and Signalling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(3), pages 432-443, Autumn.
    25. Ichino, Andrea & Muehlheusser, Gerd, 2008. "How often should you open the door?: Optimal monitoring to screen heterogeneous agents," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 820-831, September.
    26. Adriana D. Kugler & Gilles Saint-Paul, 2004. "How Do Firing Costs Affect Worker Flows in a World with Adverse Selection?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 553-584, July.
    27. Georg Noldeke & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1995. "Option Contracts and Renegotiation: A Solution to the Hold-Up Problem," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(2), pages 163-179, Summer.
    28. Frey, Bruno S, 1993. "Does Monitoring Increase Work Effort? The Rivalry with Trust and Loyalty," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(4), pages 663-670, October.
    29. Bruno S. Frey & Reto Jegen, 2001. "Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
    30. HarryG. Barkma*, 1995. "Do Top Managers Work Harder When They Are Monitored?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 19-42, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Armin Falk & Michael Kosfeld, "undated". "Distrust - The Hidden Cost of Control," IEW - Working Papers 193, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2005. "The Economics of Fairness, Reciprocity and Altruism – Experimental Evidence and New Theories," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 66, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    3. Dhaene, Geert & Bouckaert, Jan, 2010. "Sequential reciprocity in two-player, two-stage games: An experimental analysis," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 289-303, November.
    4. Ernst Fehr & Alexander Klein & Klaus M. Schmidt, "undated". "Fairness, Incentives and Contractual Incompleteness," IEW - Working Papers 072, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    5. Irlenbusch, Bernd & Sliwka, Dirk, 2005. "Incentives, Decision Frames, and Motivation Crowding Out – An Experimental Investigation," IZA Discussion Papers 1758, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Lin, Chung-Cheng & Yang, C.C., 2010. "Reciprocity and downward wage rigidity," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 1155-1168, December.
    7. Hoppe, Eva I. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2011. "Can contracts solve the hold-up problem? Experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 186-199, September.
    8. Kugler, Tamar & Bornstein, Gary & Kocher, Martin G. & Sutter, Matthias, 2007. "Trust between individuals and groups: Groups are less trusting than individuals but just as trustworthy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 646-657, December.
    9. Bharat Chandar & Uri Gneezy & John A. List & Ian Muir, 2019. "The Drivers of Social Preferences: Evidence from a Nationwide Tipping Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 26380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Barmettler, Franziska & Fehr, Ernst & Zehnder, Christian, 2012. "Big experimenter is watching you! Anonymity and prosocial behavior in the laboratory," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 17-34.
    11. Gächter, Simon & Kessler, Esther & Königstein, Manfred, 2011. "The Roles of Incentives and Voluntary Cooperation for Contractual Compliance," IZA Discussion Papers 5774, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Cox, James C. & Friedman, Daniel & Gjerstad, Steven, 2007. "A tractable model of reciprocity and fairness," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 17-45, April.
    13. John A. List, 2006. "The Behavioralist Meets the Market: Measuring Social Preferences and Reputation Effects in Actual Transactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-37, February.
    14. Luca Corazzini, Sebastian Kube, Michel André Maréchal, 2007. "Towards a Behavioral Public Choice: Guilt-Aversion and Accountability in the Lab," ISLA Working Papers 27, ISLA, Centre for research on Latin American Studies and Transition Economies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    15. Charness, Gary & Haruvy, Ernan & Sonsino, Doron, 2007. "Social distance and reciprocity: An Internet experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 88-103, May.
    16. Boosey, Luke & Goerg, Sebastian, 2020. "The timing of discretionary bonuses – effort, signals, and reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 254-280.
    17. Klaus M. Schmidt, 2011. "Social Preferences and Competition," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43(s1), pages 207-231, August.
    18. Houser, Daniel & Xiao, Erte & McCabe, Kevin & Smith, Vernon, 2008. "When punishment fails: Research on sanctions, intentions and non-cooperation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 509-532, March.
    19. Sliwka, Dirk, 2003. "On the Hidden Costs of Incentive Schemes," IZA Discussion Papers 844, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Jesper Armouti-Hansen & Lea Cassar & Anna Deréky, 2020. "Efficiency Wages with Motivated Agents," CESifo Working Paper Series 8474, CESifo.

    Replication

    This item has been replicated by:
  • Anthony Ziegelmeyer & Katrin Schmelz & Matteo Ploner, 2012. "Hidden costs of control: four repetitions and an extension," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 15(2), pages 323-340, June.
  • More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:96:y:2006:i:5:p:1611-1630. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.