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An Empirical Analysis of Risk, Incentives and the Delegation of Worker Authority

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  • Jed Devaro
  • Fidan Ana Kurtulus

Abstract

The authors empirically test Prendergast's (2002) theory that incorporates the delegation of worker authority into the principal-agent model to explain the lack of consistent empirical support for a tradeoff between risk and incentives. Using data from the 1998 British WERS, the authors investigate whether there is: 1) evidence of a risk-incentives tradeoff as predicted by the principal-agent model; 2) evidence of a positive relationship between incentive pay and the delegation of worker authority; 3) evidence of a positive relationship between risk and authority; 4) support for the main testable implication of Prendergast's model, namely that the evidence favoring a risk-incentives tradeoff should strengthen when authority controls are added to the empirical model. The answers are affirmative for all four questions, thereby providing evidence clarifying the relationship between risk and incentive pay and how managers optimally bundle incentive pay and the delegation of worker decision rights to cope with risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Jed Devaro & Fidan Ana Kurtulus, 2010. "An Empirical Analysis of Risk, Incentives and the Delegation of Worker Authority," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(4), pages 641-661, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:63:y:2010:i:4:p:641-661
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Committee, Nobel Prize, 2016. "Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström: Contract Theory," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 2016-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
    2. Bloom, Nicholas & Van Reenen, John, 2011. "Human Resource Management and Productivity," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    3. Oyer, Paul & Schaefer, Scott, 2011. "Personnel Economics: Hiring and Incentives," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    4. Jed De Varo & Suraj Prasad, 2015. "The Relationship between Delegation and Incentives Across Occupations: Evidence and Theory," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 279-312, June.
    5. Eduard Marinov, 2016. "The 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 6, pages 97-149.
    6. Schöttner, Anja & Rohlfing-Bastian, Anna, 2015. "Optimal Allocation of Decision-Making Authority and the Provision of Incentives under Uncertainty," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113200, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Avner Ben-Ner & Fanmin Kong & Stephanie Lluis, "undated". "Uncertainty and Organization Design," Working Papers 0107, Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus).
    8. Itoh, Hideshi & Kikutani, Tatsuya & Hayashida, Osamu, 2008. "Complementarities among authority, accountability, and monitoring: Evidence from Japanese business groups," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 207-228, June.
    9. Annika Campaner & John S. Heywood & Uwe Jirjahn, 2018. "Flexible Work Organization and Employer Provided Training: Evidence from German Linked Employer-Employee Data," Research Papers in Economics 2018-05, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
    10. Canice Prendergast, 2015. "The economics of wild goose chases," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(1), pages 146-164, March.
    11. Hideshi Itoh, 2006. "The Theories of International Outsourcing and Integration : A Theoretical Overview from the Perspective of Organizational Economics," Microeconomics Working Papers 21891, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    12. Ben-Ner, Avner & Kong, Fanmin & Lluis, Stéphanie, 2012. "Uncertainty, task environment, and organization design: An empirical investigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 281-313.
    13. 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.
    14. Gibbs, Michael, 2012. "Design and Implementation of Pay for Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 6322, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Jed DeVaro & Antti Kauhanen, 2016. "An “Opposing Responses” Test of Classic versus Market-Based Promotion Tournaments," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(3), pages 747-779.
    16. Emre Ekinci & Nikos Theodoropoulos, 2018. "Informal Delegation and Training," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 02-2018, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    17. DeVaro, Jed, 2011. "Using "opposing responses" and relative performance to distinguish empirically among alternative models of promotions," MPRA Paper 35175, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Fidan Ana Kurtulus & Douglas Kruse & Joseph Blasi, 2011. "Worker Attitudes Towards Employee Ownership, Profit Sharing and Variable Pay," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2011-15, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    19. repec:bla:indres:v:56:y:2017:i:3:p:411-426 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Brice Corgnet & Roberto Hernán-González, 2015. "Revisiting the Tradeoff between Risk and Incentives: The Shocking Effect of Random Shocks," Working Papers 15-05, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    21. repec:kap:sbusec:v:50:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11187-017-9885-3 is not listed on IDEAS

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