Principal-agent models: An expansion?

Richard W. Waterman, Kenneth J. Meier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

410 Scopus citations


Principal-agent models have been the basis for an extensive set of studies relating bureaucracy to elected officials. Yet despite the outpouring of research, there has been little attempt to test the basic assumptions of the principal-agent model. The model makes two assumptions: that goal conflict exists between principals and agents and that agents have more information than their principals, which results in an information asymmetry between them. But how valid are these assumptions? Can instances be found in which these assumptions do not hold? What happens when we vary these assumptions? In this article, we present both a critique of the traditional principal-agent model and a presentation of a broader theoretical framework for conceptualizing bureaucratic politics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-202
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Principal-agent models: An expansion?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this