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On the Costs and Benefits of Delegation in Organizations

  • Sliwka, Dirk

We examine the question whether a decision should be delegated to a subordinate and whether this is done efficiently. We illustrate that delegation is useful for several reasons. First, it serves to test agents with unknown ability. Then, it may improve their motivation when carrying out decisions. Moreover, delegation to subordinates may be useful to limit the power of middle managers. Costs of delegation arise due to the risk of having lower quality decisions and because after having made a successful decision a subordinate's power is increased. The latter may lead to inefficient delegation decisions.

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Paper provided by University of Bonn, Germany in its series Discussion Paper Serie A with number 600.

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Date of creation: Jul 1999
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Handle: RePEc:bon:bonsfa:600
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Bonn Graduate School of Economics, University of Bonn, Adenauerallee 24 - 26, 53113 Bonn, Germany

Fax: +49 228 73 6884
Web page: http://www.bgse.uni-bonn.de

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  1. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, . "Power in a Theory of the Firm," CRSP working papers 335, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  2. Murphy, K.J. & Gibbons, R., 1990. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns : Theory and Evidence," Papers 90-09, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  3. Fama, Eugene F, 1980. "Agency Problems and the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(2), pages 288-307, April.
  4. Nahum D. Melumad & Dilip Mookherjee & Stefan Reichelstein, 1995. "Hierarchical Decentralization of Incentive Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(4), pages 654-672, Winter.
  5. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Organizational Design and Technology Choice under Intrafirm Bargaining," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 195-222, March.
  6. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Martimort, David, 1995. "Collusion and Delegation," IDEI Working Papers 54, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  7. Margaret A. Meyer, 1994. "The Dynamics of Learning with Team Production: Implications for Task Assignment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1157-1184.
  8. 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.
  9. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part I: Comparing Information Structures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 183-198.
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