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The Lure of Authority: Motivation and Incentive Effects of Power

Ernst Fehr, Holger Herz and Tom Wilkening

No 7030, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: Authority and power permeate political, social, and economic life, but empirical knowledge about the motivational origins and consequences of authority is limited. We study the motivation and incentive effects of authority experimentally in an authority-delegation game. Individuals often retain authority even when its delegation is in their material interest – suggesting that authority has non-pecuniary consequences for utility. Authority also leads to over-provision of effort by the controlling parties, while a large percentage of subordinates under-provide effort despite pecuniary incentives to the contrary. Authority thus has important motivational consequences that exacerbate the inefficiencies arising from suboptimal delegation choices.

Keywords: experiments and contracts; incentives; organizational behavior (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C92 D23 D83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 67 pages
Date: 2012-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-cdm, nep-cta, nep-exp, nep-hrm and nep-pol
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2)

Published - published in: American Economic Review, 2013, 103 (4), 1325-59

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Related works:
Journal Article: The Lure of Authority: Motivation and Incentive Effects of Power (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: The Lure of Authority: Motivation and Incentive Effects of Power (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: The lure of authority: Motivation and incentive effects of power (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: The lure of authority: Motivation and incentive effects of power (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: The Lure of Authority: Motivation and Incentive E ects of Power (2010) Downloads
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