A reputational model of authority

Nabil I. Al-Najjar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The paper provides a model where authority relaionships are founded on reputation. The viability of authority is the result of subordinates' free-riding on each other's challenges, reducing the frequency of challenges, and making reputation worth defending. The party with authority secures subordinates' compliance through the payment of rents to influence the extent of their failure to act collectively and exacerbate the free-rider problem they face. The model provides a framework to explain how the magnitude and form of these rents depend on the primitives of the environment and on the authority's design of its reputation. Applications to employment relationships, dictatorships, and the notion of legitimacy are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-191
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2001


  • Authority relationships
  • J41
  • L14
  • Power
  • Reputation
  • Subordinates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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