Delegation and nonmonetary incentives
Attila Ambrus and
Journal of Economic Theory, 2017, vol. 171, issue C, 101-135
In many contracting settings, actions costly to one party but with no direct benefits to the other (money-burning) may be part of the explicit or implicit contract. A leading example is bureaucratic procedures in an employer–employee relationship. We study a model of delegation with an informed agent, where the principal may impose money-burning on the agent as a function of the agent's choice of action, and show that money-burning may be part of the optimal contract. This result holds even if action-contingent monetary transfers are possible, as long as transfers from the principal to the agent are bounded from below (as in limited liability or minimal wage requirements). In fact, the optimal contract can involve a combination of both efficient monetary incentives and inefficient nonmonetary incentives through money burning. Our model delivers some results novel to the delegation literature. First, money-burning is more likely if the principal is more “sensitive” to the choice of action than the agent. This is consistent with the perception that there is more bureaucratization in large organizations. Second, money-burning is more likely if the agent's limited liability constraint is tighter relative to his participation constraint. This implies that a higher minimum wage distorts employment contracts towards using socially wasteful nonmonetary incentives, leading to a Pareto inferior outcome as the agent is still held down to his reservation value through increased money burning.
Keywords: Delegation; Organizational procedures; Money burning (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D23 D82 D86 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:171:y:2017:i:c:p:101-135
Access Statistics for this article
Journal of Economic Theory is currently edited by A. Lizzeri and K. Shell
More articles in Journal of Economic Theory from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Dana Niculescu ().