Self-Confidence and Social Interactions
This paper studies the interactions between an individual self-steem and his social environment, whether in the workplace, at school, or in personal relationships. A person generally has only imperfect knowledge of his own ability (or long-term pay) in pursuing a task, and will undertake it only if he has succinct self-confidence. People who interact with him (parent, spouse, friend, teacher, manager, colleague, etc.) often have complementary information about his ability, but also a vested interest in his completing the task. This generates an incentive for such principals to distort their signals so as to manipulate the agent?s self-confidence. We first study situations where an informed principal chooses an incentive structure, such as offering payments or rewards, delegating a task, or simply giving encouragement. We show that rewards may be weak reinforcers in the short term and that, as stressed by psychologists, they may have hidden costs in that they become negative reinforcers once withdrawn. By offering a low?powered incentive scheme, the principal signals that she trusts the agent. Conversely, rewards (extrinsic motivation) have a limited impact on the agent?s current performance, and reduce his intrinsic motivation to undertake similar tasks in the future. Similarly, empowering the agent is likely to increase his motivation and effort, while offers of help or assistance may create dependence. More generally, we identify under which conditions the hidden costs of rewards are a myth or a reality. We then consider the fact that people often criticize or downplay the achievements of their spouse, child, colleague, coauthor, subordinate or teammate. We formalize such situations of ego?bashing, and argue that they may reflect battles for dominance. By lowering the other?s ego, an individual may gain (or regain) real authority within the relationship. Finally, we turn to the case where it is the agent who has superior information, and may attempt to signal it t
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- Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
- Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1988.
"Repeated Auctions of Incentive Contracts, Investment, and Bidding Parity with an Application to Takeovers,"
RAND Journal of Economics,
The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(4), pages 516-537, Winter.
- Jean Tirole & Jean-Jaques Laffont, 1987. "Repeated Auctions of Incentive Contracts, Investment and Bidding Parity With an Application to Takeovers," Working papers 463, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Laffont, J. J. & Tirole, J., 1988. "Repeated Auctions of Incentive Contracts, Investment and Bidding Parity with an Application to Takeovers," Working Papers 675, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- R. Benabou & J. Tirole, 1999. "Self-Confidence: Intrapersonal Strategies," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 00s1, Economics Department, Princeton University.
- Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2000. "Self-Confidence: Intrapersonal Strategies," CEPR Discussion Papers 2580, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Benabou, R. & Tirole, J., 2000. "Self-Confidence: Intrapersonal Strategies," Papers 209, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
- Kreps, David M, 1997. "Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 359-364, May.
- Juan D. Carrillo & Thomas Mariotti, 2000. "Strategic Ignorance as a Self-Disciplining Device," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(3), pages 529-544.
- David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
- Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-1451, November.
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