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Monitoring your Friends, not your Foes: Strategic Ignorance and the Delegation of Real Authority

  • Silvia Dominguez-Martinez
  • Randolph Sloof
  • Ferdinand von Siemens

In this laboratory experiment we study the use of strategic ignorance to delegate real authority within a firm. A worker can gather information on investment projects, while a manager makes the implementation decision. The manager can monitor the worker. This allows her to better exploit the information gathered by the worker, but also reduces the worker's incentives to gather information in the first place. Both effects of monitoring are influenced by the interest alignment between manager and worker. Our data confirms the theoretical predictions that optimal monitoring depends non-monotonically on the level of interest alignment. We also find evidence for hidden costs of control and preferences for control, but these have no substantial effects on organizational outcomes.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2010/wp-cesifo-2010-09/cesifo1_wp3172.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3172.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3172
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  1. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," IDEI Working Papers 37, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. Michael Kosfeld & Armin Falk, 2006. "The Hidden Costs of Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1611-1630, December.
  3. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  4. Anders Poulsen & Michael Roos, 2010. "Do people make strategic commitments? Experimental evidence on strategic information avoidance," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 206-225, June.
  5. Dufwenberg, Martin & Kirchsteiger, Georg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 268-298, May.
  6. Gul, Faruk, 2001. "Unobservable Investment and the Hold-Up Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(2), pages 343-76, March.
  7. Nicolai J. Foss, 2001. "Selective Intervention and Internal HybridsInterpreting and Learning from the Rise and Decline of the Oticon Spaghetti Organization," DRUID Working Papers 01-16, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  8. Anders Poulsen & Jonathan Tan, 2007. "Information acquisition in the ultimatum game: An experimental study," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 391-409, December.
  9. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
  10. Matthew Rabin., 1992. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," Economics Working Papers 92-199, University of California at Berkeley.
  11. Park, Albert & Shen, Minggao, 2008. "Refinancing and decentralization: Evidence from China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(3-4), pages 703-730, June.
  12. George Loewenstein & Don Moore & Roberto Weber, 2006. "Misperceiving the value of information in predicting the performance of others," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 281-295, September.
  13. 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.
  14. repec:dgr:kubcen:199560 is not listed on IDEAS
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