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A Signalling Theory of Scapegoats

Author

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  • Segendorff, Björn

    (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)

Abstract

This study investigates under what circumstances there exist a separating equilibrium in which competent leaders choose incompetent co-workers and incompetent leaders choose competent co-workers. The driving force for the competent leader is the insurance motive; if things go wrong he can blame the incompetent co-worker and remain his reputation of being competent. For the incompetent leader the expected gain from such an insurance is outweighed by its costs in terms of lower expected policy outcome. Co-workers are motivated by career opportunities allowing for conflicting interests between the leader and the co-worker.

Suggested Citation

  • Segendorff, Björn, 2000. "A Signalling Theory of Scapegoats," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 406, Stockholm School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0406
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    File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/hastef/papers/hastef0406.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1995. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 769-798.
    2. Meyer, Margaret A & Vickers, John, 1997. "Performance Comparisons and Dynamic Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 547-581, June.
    3. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221.
    4. Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1992. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 468-505, June.
    5. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
    6. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
    7. Effinger, Matthias R. & Polborn, Mattias K., 2001. "Herding and anti-herding: A model of reputational differentiation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 385-403, March.
    8. Trueman, Brett, 1994. "Analyst Forecasts and Herding Behavior," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 7(1), pages 97-124.
    9. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1993. "Economic Policy, Economic Performance, and Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 27-42, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Luís Almeida Costa & Luís Vasconcelos, 2010. "Share the Fame or Share the Blame? The Reputational Implications of Partnerships," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(2), pages 259-301, June.
    2. Marion Eberlein & Judith Przemeck, 2008. "Whom will you choose? - Collaborator Selection and Selector’s Self-Prediction," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse12_2008, University of Bonn, Germany.
    3. Guillermo Ordonez, 2008. "Essays on Learning and Macroeconomics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002250, David K. Levine.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Separating equilibrium; competence; co-worker; blame; scapegoat;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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