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The Pygmalion Effect: An Agency Model with Reference Dependent Preferences

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  • Kohei Daido
  • Hideshi Itoh

Abstract

We attempt to formulate and explain two types of self-fulfilling prophecy, called the Pygmalion effect (if a supervisor thinks her subordinates will succeed, they are more likely to succeed) and the Galatea effect (if a person thinks he will succeed, he is more likely to succeed). To this purpose, we extend a simple agency model with moral hazard and limited liability by introducing a model of reference dependent preferences (RDP) by Kõszegi and Rabin (2004). We show that the agent with high expectations about his performance can be induced to choose high effort with low-powered incentives. We then show that the principal’s expectation has an important role as an equilibrium selection device.

Suggested Citation

  • Kohei Daido & Hideshi Itoh, 2005. "The Pygmalion Effect: An Agency Model with Reference Dependent Preferences," CESifo Working Paper Series 1444, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1444
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp1444.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    2. Ian Bateman & Alistair Munro & Bruce Rhodes & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 1997. "A Test of the Theory of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 479-505.
    3. Masatlioglu, Yusufcan & Ok, Efe A., 2005. "Rational choice with status quo bias," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 1-29, March.
    4. Armin Falk & Markus Knell, 2004. "Choosing the Joneses: Endogenous Goals and Reference Standards," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 417-435, October.
    5. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
    6. Sugden, Robert, 2003. "Reference-dependent subjective expected utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 172-191, August.
    7. Munro, Alistair & Sugden, Robert, 2003. "On the theory of reference-dependent preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 407-428, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Botond Kőszegi, 2010. "Utility from anticipation and personal equilibrium," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 44(3), pages 415-444, September.
    2. Martin Gonzalez Eiras & Dirk Niepelt, 2004. "Sustaining Social Security," Working Papers 72, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Jun 2004.
    3. K. Hilken & K.J.M. De Jaegher & M. Jegers, 2013. "Strategic Framing in Contracts," Working Papers 13-04, Utrecht School of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    self-fulfilling prophecy; Pygmalion effect; Galatea effect; reference dependent preferences; agency model; moral hazard;

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