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Trust in Agency

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  • Ramon Casadesus-Masanell

Abstract

Existing models of the principal-agent relationship assume the agent works only under extrinsic incentives. However, many observed agency contracts take the form of a fixed payment. For such contracts to work, the principal must trust the agent to work in the absence of incentives. I show that agency fosters the advent of intrinsic motivation and trustworthy behavior. Three distinct motivational schemes are analyzed: norms, ethical standards, and altruism. I identify conditions under which these mechanisms arise and show how they promote trust. The analysis alters several important predictions of conventional models: (1) Better outcomes may ensue in highly uncertain environments; (2) the principal is better off the more the agent is risk averse; and (3) larger equilibrium extrinsic incentives need not be associated with larger effort or larger total surplus. Copyright 2004 Blackwell Publishing, 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA, and 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK..

Suggested Citation

  • Ramon Casadesus-Masanell, 2004. "Trust in Agency," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(3), pages 375-404, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:13:y:2004:i:3:p:375-404
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    Cited by:

    1. Hiller, Victor & Verdier, Thierry, 2014. "Corporate culture and identity investment in an industry equilibrium," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 93-112.
    2. Bottazzi, L. & Da Rin, M. & Hellmann, T., 2010. "The Importance of Trust for Investment : Evidence From Venture Capital (Revision of DP 2009-43)," Discussion Paper 2010-49, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    3. David Gaddis Ross, 2012. "On Evaluation Costs in Strategic Factor Markets: The Implications for Competition and Organizational Design," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(4), pages 791-804, April.
    4. Matthias Bürker & G. Alfredo Minerva, 2014. "Civic capital and the size distribution of plants: short-run dynamics and long-run equilibrium," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(4), pages 797-847.
    5. Cabrales, Antonio & Charness, Gary, 2011. "Optimal contracts with team production and hidden information: An experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 163-176, February.
    6. L. Bottazzi & M. Da Rin & T. Hellmann, 2007. "The Importance of Trust for Investment: Evidence from Venture Capital," Working Papers 612, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    7. Michael T. Rauh, 2007. "Incentives, Solidarity, and the Division of Labor," Working Papers 2007-15, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    8. Robert Dur & Jan Tichem, 2015. "Altruism and Relational Incentives in the Workplace," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(3), pages 485-500, September.
    9. Ramalingam, Abhijit, 2014. "On the value of relative comparisons in firms," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(3), pages 446-448.
    10. Deng, Wendong & Hendrikse, George, 2014. "Social capital and incentives in the provision of product quality by cooperatives," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 182687, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    11. Abhijit Ramalingam & Michael Rauh, 2008. "Firms, Markets, and the Work Ethic," Working Papers 2008-04, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
    12. Christian Lukas & Jens Robert Schöndube, 2008. "Trust and Adaptive Learning in Implicit Contracts," FEMM Working Papers 08017, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    13. Arce, Daniel G., 2013. "Principals’ preferences for agents with social preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 154-163.
    14. Michael T. Rauh & Giulio Seccia, 2005. "Incentives, Monitoring, and Motivation," Game Theory and Information 0506008, EconWPA.
    15. Bodo E. Steiner, 2007. "Negotiated transfer pricing: Theory and implications for value chains in agribusiness," Agribusiness, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 279-292.
    16. Ramalingam, Abhijit, 2009. ""Endogenous" Relative Concerns: The Impact of Workers' Characteristics on Status and Pro ts in the Firm," MPRA Paper 18759, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Lacetera, Nicola & Zirulia, Lorenzo, 2012. "Individual preferences, organization, and competition in a model of R&D incentive provision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 550-570.
    18. Eduard Alonso-Paulí, 2007. "The Adoption of a Code of Best Practice: Incentive Implications," Working Papers 07.18, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
    19. Abhijit Ramalingam & Michael T. Rauh, 2010. "The Firm as a Socialization Device," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(12), pages 2191-2206, December.

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