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Relational Contracts, Multitasking, and Job Design


  • Anja Schöttner


This article analyzes optimal job design in a repeated principal-agent relationship when there is only one contractible and imperfect performance measure for three tasks whose contribution to firm value is nonverifiable. The tasks can be assigned to either one or two agents. Assigning an additional task to an agent strengthens his relational contract. Therefore, broad task assignments are optimal when the performance measure strongly distorts incentives for the two-task job. This is more likely to be the case if these two tasks are substitutes. The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:, Oxford University Press.

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  • Anja Schöttner, 2008. "Relational Contracts, Multitasking, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 138-162, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:24:y:2008:i:1:p:138-162

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    Cited by:

    1. Sloof, Randolph & Sonnemans, Joep, 2011. "The interaction between explicit and relational incentives: An experiment," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 573-594.
    2. Thiele, Veikko, 2010. "Task-specific abilities in multi-task principal-agent relationships," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 690-698, August.
    3. David Martimort & Aggey Semenov & Lars Stole, 2017. "A Theory of Contracts with Limited Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 816-852.
    4. Arijit Mukherjee & Luis Vasconcelos, 2011. "Optimal job design in the presence of implicit contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(1), pages 44-69, March.
    5. Thomas Buser & Noemi Peter, 2012. "Multitasking," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 15(4), pages 641-655, December.
    6. Görlich, Dennis, 2010. "Complementary tasks and the limits to the division of labour," Kiel Working Papers 1670, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    7. Goldlücke, Susanne & Kranz, Sebastian, 2012. "Delegation, monitoring, and relational contracts," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(2), pages 405-407.
    8. Jenny Kragl & Anja Schöttner, 2014. "Wage Floors, Imperfect Performance Measures, And Optimal Job Design," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 525-550, May.
    9. James M. Malcomson, 2012. "Relational Incentive Contracts," Introductory Chapters,in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.), The Handbook of Organizational Economics Princeton University Press.
    10. Kragl, Jenny & Schöttner, Anja, 2011. "Wage Floors and Optimal Job Design," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48731, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Kragl, Jenny & Schmid, Julia, 2009. "The impact of envy on relational employment contracts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 766-779, November.
    12. Barbara Schöndube-Pirchegger & Jens Robert Schöndube, 2015. "Full versus Partial Delegation in Multi-Task Agency," FEMM Working Papers 150017, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.

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