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Delegation and incentives

  • Helmut Bester
  • Daniel Krähmer

This article analyzes the relation between authority and incentives. It extends the standard principal-agent model by a project selection stage in which the principal can either delegate the choice of project to the agent or keep the authority. The agent's subsequent choice of effort depends both on monetary incentives and the selected project. We find that the consideration of effort incentives makes the principal less likely to delegate the authority over projects to the agent. In fact, if the agent is protected by limited liability, delegation is never optimal. Copyright (c) 2008, RAND.

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Article provided by RAND Corporation in its journal The RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 39 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 664-682

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Handle: RePEc:bla:randje:v:39:y:2008:i:3:p:664-682
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  1. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-51, November.
  2. Sanford Grossman & Oliver Hart, . "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 15-80, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  3. Bester, Helmut, 2005. "Externalities, Communication and the Allocation of Decision Rights," CEPR Discussion Papers 5391, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Wouter Dessein, 2002. "Authority and Communication in Organizations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 811-838.
  5. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  6. Sugato Bhattacharyya & Francine Lafontaine, 1995. "Double-Sided Moral Hazard and the Nature of Share Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 761-781, Winter.
  7. Russell Cooper & T.W. Ross, 1984. "Product Warranties and Double Moral Hazard," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 716, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
  9. Canice Prendergast, 2002. "The Tenuous Trade-off between Risk and Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(5), pages 1071-1102, October.
  10. 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.
  11. Sappington, David, 1983. "Limited liability contracts between principal and agent," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-21, February.
  12. Riordan, Michael H & Sappington, David E M, 1987. "Information, Incentives, and Organizational Mode," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 243-63, May.
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