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Delegation and motivation


  • Lukas Angst
  • Karol Borowiecki



We investigate the determinants of decision rights transfer and its effects on the motivation of an agent. The study is based on a laboratory experiment conducted on 130 subjects playing an innovative principal–agent game. Interestingly, the results show that agents do not favour a delegation and a decision is considered rather burdensome. Although the experiment could not give support for the behavioural hypothesis of higher effort provided by participants who receive choice subsequently, the survey illuminates the interaction between delegation motives, effort motivators, goals and other perceptions of the agents. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Lukas Angst & Karol Borowiecki, 2014. "Delegation and motivation," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 76(3), pages 363-393, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:theord:v:76:y:2014:i:3:p:363-393
    DOI: 10.1007/s11238-013-9370-7

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
    2. Anthony M. Marino & John G. Matsusaka, 2005. "Decision Processes, Agency Problems, and Information: An Economic Analysis of Capital Budgeting Procedures," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(1), pages 301-325.
    3. Ernst Fehr & Holger Herz & Tom Wilkening, 2013. "The Lure of Authority: Motivation and Incentive Effects of Power," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1325-1359, June.
    4. Jan Zabojnik, 2002. "Centralized and Decentralized Decision Making in Organizations," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-22, January.
    5. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
    6. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Self-Confidence and Personal Motivation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 871-915.
    7. Baker, George & Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1999. "Informal Authority in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 56-73, April.
    8. Bauke Visser, 2007. "Motivating Through Delegating Tasks or Giving Attention," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 731-742, October.
    9. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
    10. Jacques Crémer, 1995. "Arm's Length Relationships," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 275-295.
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    More about this item


    Organizational behaviour; Incentives; Experiments and contracts;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights


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