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Monitored by your friends, not your foes: Strategic ignorance and the delegation of real authority

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  • Dominguez-Martinez, Silvia
  • Sloof, Randolph
  • von Siemens, Ferdinand A.

Abstract

In this laboratory experiment we study the use of strategic ignorance to delegate real authority within a firm. A worker can gather information on investment projects, while a manager makes the implementation decision. The manager can monitor the worker. This allows her to exploit any information gathered by the worker, but also reduces the worker's incentives to gather information. Both effects are influenced by the interest alignment between manager and worker. Our data confirm the prediction that optimal monitoring depends non-monotonically on the interest alignment between managers and workers. Managers also show some preferences for control that seem to be driven by loss aversion. We also find mild evidence for hidden benefits and costs of control. However, behavioral biases have only limited effects on organizational outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Dominguez-Martinez, Silvia & Sloof, Randolph & von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2014. "Monitored by your friends, not your foes: Strategic ignorance and the delegation of real authority," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 289-305.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:85:y:2014:i:c:p:289-305
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2014.02.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. von Siemens, Ferdinand A., 2013. "Intention-based reciprocity and the hidden costs of control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 55-65.
    2. repec:kap:expeco:v:20:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10683-016-9499-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Randolph Sloof & Ferdinand A. von Siemens, 2015. "Decision Initiation, Decision Implementation, and the Allocation of Decision Rights," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 15-105/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    4. Battaglini, Marco & Lai, Ernest & Lim, Wooyoung & Tao-yi Wang, Joseph, 2016. "The Informational Theory of Legislative Committees: An Experimental Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 11356, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Randolph Sloof & Ferdinand A. Siemens, 2017. "Illusion of control and the pursuit of authority," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(3), pages 556-573, September.
    6. Silvia Dominguez Martinez & Randolph Sloof, 2016. "Communication versus (Restricted) Delegation: An Experimental Comparison," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-050/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
    7. François Cochard & Julie Le Gallo & Laurent Franckx, 2015. "Regulation Of Pollution In The Laboratory: Random Inspections, Ambient Inspections, And Commitment Problems," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(S1), pages 40-73, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Delegation; Real authority; Strategic ignorance;

    JEL classification:

    • D20 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - General
    • D40 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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