IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/eecrev/v55y2011i8p1094-1108.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Conflicting tasks and moral hazard: Theory and experimental evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Hoppe, Eva I.
  • Kusterer, David J.

Abstract

We study a multi-task principal-agent problem in which tasks can be in direct conflict with each other. In theory, it is difficult to induce a single agent to exert efforts in two conflicting tasks, because effort in one task decreases the success probability of the other task. We have conducted an experiment in which we find strong support for the relevance of this incentive problem. In the presence of conflict, subjects choose two efforts significantly less often when both tasks are assigned to a single agent than when there are two agents each in charge of one task.

Suggested Citation

  • Hoppe, Eva I. & Kusterer, David J., 2011. "Conflicting tasks and moral hazard: Theory and experimental evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1094-1108.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:55:y:2011:i:8:p:1094-1108
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2011.04.005
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014292111000365
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.euroecorev.2011.04.005?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 2005. "Contract Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262025760.
    2. Keser, Claudia & Willinger, Marc, 2007. "Theories of behavior in principal-agent relationships with hidden action," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 1514-1533, August.
    3. 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.
    4. Tymofiy Mylovanov & Patrick Schmitz, 2008. "Task scheduling and moral hazard," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 37(2), pages 307-320, November.
    5. Dewatripont, Mathias & Jewitt, Ian & Tirole, Jean, 2000. "Multitask agency problems: Focus and task clustering," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 869-877, May.
    6. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 2004. "Fairness and Incentives in a Multi‐task Principal–Agent Model," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 453-474, October.
    7. Dumont, Etienne & Fortin, Bernard & Jacquemet, Nicolas & Shearer, Bruce, 2008. "Physicians' multitasking and incentives: Empirical evidence from a natural experiment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1436-1450, December.
    8. Patrick W. Schmitz, 2005. "Allocating Control in Agency Problems with Limited Liability and Sequential Hidden Actions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(2), pages 318-336, Summer.
    9. Innes, Robert D., 1990. "Limited liability and incentive contracting with ex-ante action choices," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 45-67, October.
    10. Fahad Khalil & Doyoung Kim & Dongsoo Shin, 2006. "Optimal Task Design: To Integrate or Separate Planning and Implementation?," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 457-478, June.
    11. 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.
    12. Tirole, Jean, 2001. "Corporate Governance," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 1-35, January.
    13. Laux, Christian, 2001. "Limited-Liability and Incentive Contracting with Multiple Projects," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 514-526, Autumn.
    14. Keser, Claudia & Willinger, Marc, 2000. "Principals' principles when agents' actions are hidden," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 163-185, January.
    15. Pitchford, Rohan, 1998. "Moral hazard and limited liability: The real effects of contract bargaining," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 251-259, November.
    16. George A. Akerlof, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-569.
    17. Dana Jr. James D., 1993. "The Organization and Scope of Agents: Regulating Multiproduct Industries," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 288-310, April.
    18. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 2006. "The Economics of Fairness, Reciprocity and Altruism - Experimental Evidence and New Theories," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, in: S. Kolm & Jean Mercier Ythier (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Giving, Altruism and Reciprocity, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 615-691, Elsevier.
    19. Yeon-Koo Che & Seung-Weon Yoo, 2001. "Optimal Incentives for Teams," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 525-541, June.
    20. Bruggen, Alexander & Strobel, Martin, 2007. "Real effort versus chosen effort in experiments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 232-236, August.
    21. Yukiko Hirao, 1993. "Task Assignmentand Agency Structures," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(2), pages 299-323, June.
    22. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Jiancai Pi, 2018. "Another Look at Job Design with Conflicting Tasks," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(4), pages 427-434, December.
    2. Hoppe, Eva I. & Kusterer, David J., 2011. "Behavioral biases and cognitive reflection," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 97-100, February.
    3. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2013. "Public procurement in times of crisis: The bundling decision reconsidered," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 533-536.
    4. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2013. "Job design with conflicting tasks reconsidered," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 108-117.
    5. Charlene M. Kalenkoski & Gigi Foster, 2015. "Measuring the relative productivity of multitasking to sole-tasking in household production: experimental evidence," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(18), pages 1847-1862, April.
    6. Mol, Jantsje M. & Botzen, W. J. Wouter & Blasch, Julia E., 2020. "Risk reduction in compulsory disaster insurance: Experimental evidence on moral hazard and financial incentives," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    7. Zahra Murad & Charitini Stavropoulou & Graham Cookson, 2019. "Incentives and gender in a multi-task setting: An experimental study with real-effort tasks," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(3), pages 1-18, March.
    8. Pi, Jiancai, 2014. "Job design with sequential tasks and outcome externalities revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 125(2), pages 274-277.

    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. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2013. "Job design with conflicting tasks reconsidered," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 108-117.
    2. Schmitz, Patrick W, 2010. "Should a principal hire one agent or two agents to perform two sequential tasks?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7976, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Tymofiy Mylovanov & Patrick Schmitz, 2008. "Task scheduling and moral hazard," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 37(2), pages 307-320, November.
    4. Susanne Ohlendorf & Patrick W. Schmitz, 2012. "Repeated Moral Hazard And Contracts With Memory: The Case Of Risk‐Neutrality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(2), pages 433-452, May.
    5. Patrick W. Schmitz, 2005. "Allocating Control in Agency Problems with Limited Liability and Sequential Hidden Actions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(2), pages 318-336, Summer.
    6. Nieken, Petra & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2012. "Repeated moral hazard and contracts with memory: A laboratory experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 1000-1008.
    7. Hoppe, Eva I. & Kusterer, David J. & Schmitz, Patrick W., 2013. "Public–private partnerships versus traditional procurement: An experimental investigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 145-166.
    8. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2005. "Workplace surveillance, privacy protection, and efficiency wages," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(6), pages 727-738, December.
    9. Ohlendorf, Susanne & Schmitz, Patrick W, 2008. "Repeated Moral Hazard, Limited Liability, and Renegotiation," CEPR Discussion Papers 6725, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Livio, Luca & De Chiara, Alessandro, 2019. "Friends or foes? Optimal incentives for reciprocal agents," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 245-278.
    11. Kazumi Hori, 2014. "Contracting for Multiple Goods under Asymmetric Information: The Two-goods Case," KIER Working Papers 888, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
    12. Hoppe, Eva I & Schmitz, Patrick W, 2015. "Hidden Action and Outcome Contractibility: An Experimental Test of Contract Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 11002, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Elisabetta Iossa & David Martimort, 2012. "Risk allocation and the costs and benefits of public--private partnerships," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(3), pages 442-474, September.
    14. Gary Charness & Ramón Cobo-Reyes & Juan A. Lacomba & Francisco Lagos & Jose Maria Perez, 2016. "Social comparisons in wage delegation: experimental evidence," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(2), pages 433-459, June.
    15. Inés Macho-Stadler & David Pérez-Castrillo, 2018. "Moral hazard: Base models and two extensions," Chapters, in: Luis C. Corchón & Marco A. Marini (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory and Industrial Organization, Volume I, chapter 16, pages 453-485, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    16. Gose, Karina & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim, 2012. "Fair wages when employers face the risk of losing money," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 687-690.
    17. Eva I. Hoppe & Patrick W. Schmitz, 2021. "How (Not) to Foster Innovations in Public Infrastructure Projects," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 123(1), pages 238-266, January.
    18. Corgnet, Brice & Gómez-Miñambres, Joaquín & Hernán-González, Roberto, 2018. "Goal setting in the principal–agent model: Weak incentives for strong performance," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 311-326.
    19. Charness, Gary & Kuhn, Peter, 2011. "Lab Labor: What Can Labor Economists Learn from the Lab?," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 3, pages 229-330, Elsevier.
    20. Pi, Jiancai, 2014. "Job design with sequential tasks and outcome externalities revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 125(2), pages 274-277.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Moral hazard; Conflicting tasks; Experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

    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:eee:eecrev:v:55:y:2011:i:8:p:1094-1108. 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: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer .

    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: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer .

    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.