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Positive Self-image and Incentives in Organisations

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  • Luís Santos-Pinto

Abstract

This paper investigates the implications of workers' mistaken beliefs about their abilities on incentives in organisations. It shows that if effort is observable, then an agent's mistaken beliefs about his own ability are favourable to the principal. However, when effort is unobservable an agent's mistaken beliefs about his own ability can be either favourable or unfavourable to the principal. The article provides conditions under which an agent's overestimation about his own ability is favourable to the principal when effort is unobservable. The article shows that workers' mistaken beliefs about their co-workers' abilities make interdependent incentive schemes more attractive to firms than individualistic ones. Copyright (C) The Author(s). Journal compilation (C) Royal Economic Society 2008.

Suggested Citation

  • Luís Santos-Pinto, 2008. "Positive Self-image and Incentives in Organisations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(531), pages 1315-1332, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:118:y:2008:i:531:p:1315-1332
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fang, Hanming & Moscarini, Giuseppe, 2005. "Morale hazard," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 749-777, May.
    2. Baker, George P & Jensen, Michael C & Murphy, Kevin J, 1988. " Compensation and Incentives: Practice vs. Theory," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 593-616, July.
    3. Menkhoff, Lukas & Schmidt, Ulrich & Brozynski, Torsten, 2006. "The impact of experience on risk taking, overconfidence, and herding of fund managers: Complementary survey evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1753-1766, October.
    4. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
    5. de la Rosa, Leonidas Enrique, 2011. "Overconfidence and moral hazard," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 429-451.
    6. Thomas Oberlechner & Carol Osler, 2009. "Overconfidence in Currency Markets," Working Papers 02, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.
    7. Hvide, Hans K., 2002. "Pragmatic beliefs and overconfidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 15-28, May.
    8. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
    9. Dilip Mookherjee, 1984. "Optimal Incentive Schemes with Many Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 433-446.
    10. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines

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