Does Delegation Undermine Accountability? Experimental Evidence on the Relationship between Blame Shifting and Control

29 Pages Posted: 30 Apr 2015

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 2015

Abstract

A small but growing literature in experimental economics finds that principals can shift responsibility for blameworthy behavior to agents, even when those agents are effectively powerless. Prior work in this field measures blameworthy behavior only indirectly, however. It uses modified dictator games to measure attributions of blame for inequitable allocations of wealth. Yet participants might find inequitable allocations of wealth not blameworthy. Thus, such indirect measures leave open the possibility that prior work is not measuring blame shifting at all. This article corrects for a crucial shortcoming by providing a direct measure of blame‐shifting behavior. It reports and discusses first‐of‐its‐kind experimental evidence that shows that principals can delegate to powerless intermediaries in order to evade blame.

Suggested Citation

Hill, Adam Douglas, Does Delegation Undermine Accountability? Experimental Evidence on the Relationship between Blame Shifting and Control (June 2015). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 12, Issue 2, pp. 311-339, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2600725 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jels.12074

Adam Douglas Hill (Contact Author)

Facebook Inc ( email )

Menlo Park, CA 94025
United States

Research Fellow ( email )

102 South Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-4600
United States

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