Status motives and agent-to-agent information sharing

Jasmijn C. Bol, Justin Leiby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although decision-making within firms improves when agents share information with one another, agents often have limited motivation to share because doing so takes effort and time. In four experiments, we examine how agents’ responses to information sharing controls depend on an important source of motivation: active status motives, that is, the desire to gain respect from others. In a rewards-based system that compensates agents for sharing, agents with active status motives demand relatively larger rewards. In a sacrifice-based system that does not compensate agents for sharing, agents with active status motives make larger sacrifices but only when sharing is visible to others. In brief, agents with active status motives show off in the manner the control system frames as easiest, that is, conspicuous value-signaling or conspicuous generosity-signaling. Broadly speaking, active status motives inhibit sharing when sharing involves rewards but decrease barriers when sharing involves sacrifice. Understanding the motivation for status is critical to motivating agent-to-agent sharing within firms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-147
Number of pages26
JournalReview of Accounting Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Altruism
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Incentives
  • Information sharing
  • M40
  • Signaling
  • Status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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