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Delegation and R&D Incentives: Theory and Evidence from Italy

Listed author(s):
  • Jakub Kastl

    (Stanford U.)

  • David Martimort


  • Salvatore Piccolo

    (University of Naples)

We study the relationship between delegation within organizations and innovation incentives. When a firm owner deals with a privately informed manager who undertakes an unverifiable R&D decision, we show that an organizational mode awarding autonomy to the manager spurs innovation incentives relative to arrangements based on vertical control. The idea is that delegation increases the manager's ex-post information rent and thus encourages his R&D effort relative to instances where contractual rules excessively limit his autonomy. This R&D-enhancing effect also increases (ex-ante) gains from trade and makes both contractual parties better off. However, we also show that because of asymmetric information, more intensive R&D investments have a negative impact on ex-post efficiency: By inducing a better distribution of R&D outcomes, arrangements awarding more autonomy to the privately informed manager strengthen the rent-extraction efficiency trade-off and thus exacerbate the underproduction result typically obtained in adverse selection environments. This unveils an inconsistency between ex-ante and ex-post efficiency which has been overlooked in previous work. Using data from the Italian manufacturing industry we test the theoretical model. The empirical results provide support for our predictions.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2008 Meeting Papers with number 1095.

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Date of creation: 2008
Handle: RePEc:red:sed008:1095
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

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