Too Few Cooks Spoil the Broth: Division of Labor and Directed Production
How can a manager influence workers' activity, while knowing little about it? This paper examines a situation where production requires several tasks, and the manager wants to direct production to achieve a preferred allocation of effort across tasks. However, the effort that is required for each task cannot be observed, and the production result is the only indicator of worker activity. This paper illustrates that in this situation, the manager cannot implement the preferred allocation with a single worker. On the other hand, the manager is able to implement the preferred allocation by inducing a game among several workers. Gains to workers from collusion may be eliminated by an ability-dependent, but potentially inefficient, task assignment. These findings provide a new explanation for the division of labor, and bureaucratic features such as ``over"-specialization and ``wrong" task allocation.
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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 8 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (August)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.degruyter.com|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bejeap|
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.:
- Strausz, R.G., 1995.
"Delegation of Monitoring in a Principal-Agent Relationship,"
1995-60, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Roland Strausz, 1997. "Delegation of Monitoring in a Principal-Agent Relationship," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(3), pages 337-357.
- Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971.
"Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations,"
UCLA Economics Working Papers
10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-95, December.
- Itoh, Hideshi, 1991. "Incentives to Help in Multi-agent Situations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 611-36, May.
- Itoh, Hideshi, 1992. "Cooperation in Hierarchical Organizations: An Incentive Perspective," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(2), pages 321-45, April.
- Bengt Holmstrom, 1981.
"Moral Hazard in Teams,"
471, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999.
"The economics of career concerns: part 2 :application to missions and accountability of government agencies,"
ULB Institutional Repository
2013/9641, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part II: Application to Missions and Accountability of Government Agencies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 199-217.
- Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1992.
"Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 468-505, June.
- Murphy, K.J. & Gibbons, R., 1990. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns : Theory and Evidence," Papers 90-09, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
- Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1991. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3792, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gibbons, R. & Murphy, K.J., 1990. "Optimal Incentive Contracts In The Presence Of Career Concerns: Theory And Evidence," Working papers 563, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J., 1999.
"Multi-Task Learning and the Reorganization of Work. From Tayloristic to Holistic Organization,"
IZA Discussion Papers
39, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Lindbeck, Assar & Snower, Dennis J, 2000. "Multitask Learning and the Reorganization of Work: From Tayloristic to Holistic Organization," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 353-76, July.
- George Baker, 2002. "Distortion and Risk in Optimal Incentive Contracts," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(4), pages 728-751.
- Fama, Eugene F, 1980. "Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 288-307, April.
- Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1994.
"The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge,"
in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 299-322
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1137-1160.
- Becker, G.S. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 92-5, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
- Gary S. Murphy Becker & Kevin M., 1992. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 79, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 1994. "The Firm as a Communication Network," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 809-839.
- Canice Prendergast, 2003. "The Limits of Bureaucratic Efficiency," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 929-958, October.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:8:y:2008:i:1:n:27. 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: (Peter Golla)
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.