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Organizational Design, Project Selection, and Incentives


  • Maria De Paola
  • Vincenzo Scoppa


This paper compares benefits and costs related to hierarchical and decentralized organizations in an agency framework. We show that the relative efficiency of hierarchy diminishes in contexts with asymmetric information. When effort is not observable, performance-related pay is required in order to encourage the agent to work hard. With risk-averse agents the use of this incentive system is more costly under hierarchy rather than under decentralization, in that a higher wage is necessary to elicit effort. From the efficiency comparison of hierarchy and delegation, a trade-off emerges between the advantages deriving from the principal's screening activity and the higher agency costs that this induces.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2006. "Organizational Design, Project Selection, and Incentives," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 162(3), pages 424-449, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200609)162:3_424:odpsai_2.0.tx_2-b

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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. 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.
    3. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter-J. Jost & Frauke Lammers, 2010. "Organization of Project Evaluation and Implementation under Moral Hazard," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 166(2), pages 212-238, June.
    2. Duncan Simester & Juanjuan Zhang, 2010. "Why Are Bad Products So Hard to Kill?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 56(7), pages 1161-1179, July.
    3. Christos Bilanakos & John S. Heywood & John Sessions & Nikolaos Theodoropoulos, 2016. "Delegation and worker training," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 06-2016, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    4. Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2009. "Task assignment, incentives and technological factors," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 30(1), pages 43-55.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods


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