Agency and Anxiety
In this paper, we introduce the psychological concept of anxiety into agency theory. An important benchmark in the anxiety literature is the inverted-U hypothesis which states that an increase in anxiety improves performance when anxiety is low but reduces it when anxiety is high. We consider a version of the Holmstrom-Milgrom linear principal-agent model where the agent conforms to the inverted-U hypothesis and investigate the nature of the optimal linear contract. We find that although high-powered incentives can be demotivational, a profit-maximizing principal never offers them. In contrast, the principal may optimally engage in a demotivational level of monitoring. Moreover, since risk can be motivational, the principal may refrain from eliminating it even when monitoring is costless. Indeed, the principal may even add pure noise to the contract in order to motivate the agent, contradicting the informativeness principle. Finally, incentives and monitoring can be strategic substitutes or complements in our model.
|Date of creation:||Sep 2006|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://kelley.iu.edu/bepp/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
- Bengt Holmstrom & Paul R. Milgrom, 1985.
"Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives,"
Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers
742, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1987. "Aggregation and Linearity in the Provision of Intertemporal Incentives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 303-28, March.
- Edward P. Lazear, 1996.
"Performance Pay and Productivity,"
NBER Working Papers
5672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Michael T. Rauh & Giulio Seccia, 2005.
"Anxiety and Performance: An Endogenous Learning-by-doing Model,"
2005-01, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
- Michael T. Rauh & Giulio Seccia, 2006. "Anxiety And Performance: An Endogenous Learning-By-Doing Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 583-609, 05.
- Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Pay Enough Or Don'T Pay At All," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810, August.
- Vives, X., 1988.
"Nash Equilibrium With Strategic Complementarities,"
UFAE and IAE Working Papers
107-88, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
- Dan Ariely & Uri Gneezy & George Loewenstein & Nina Mazar, 2009.
"Large Stakes and Big Mistakes,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 76(2), pages 451-469.
- Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
- Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
- Baker, G.P. & Jensen, M.C. & Murphy, K.J., 1988.
"Compensation And Incentives: Practice Vs. Theory,"
88-05, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
- Loewenstein, George, 1987. "Anticipation and the Valuation of Delayed Consumption," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 666-84, September.
- Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "Rationalizability, Learning, and Equilibrium in Games with Strategic Complementarities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1255-77, November.
- Barkema, Harry G, 1995. "Do Top Managers Work Harder When They Are Monitored?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 19-42.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2006-02. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Rick Harbaugh)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.