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Incentive Hierarchies

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  • Emmanuelle AURIOL
  • Régis RENAULT

Abstract

Because much of work incentives are provided through promotions, their effectiveness depends to a large extent on the structure of the organization's hierarchy. Here, we investigate the impact of the incentive motive on the optimal hierarchy using the Auriol-Renault [2000] framework which highlights the role of recognition in the work place. This framework provides a rationale for using promotions as an incentive device which relies on a complementarity between recognition and income: those who earn more should also earn more recognition. We identify factors which affect the hierarchy in terms of number of ranks, population size at each rank and the extent of the differentiation between ranks. We show that the harder it is for an employee to improve performance through effort the more pyramid-like is the hierarchy, with a small group of successful individuals at the top earning high income and recognition. If a high performance may be easily achieved, a seniority based promotion system may be optimal.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by ENSAE in its journal Annals of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): (2001)
Issue (Month): 63-64 ()
Pages: 261-282

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Handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:2001:i:63-64:p:13

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  1. Robson, Arthur J, 1992. "Status, the Distribution of Wealth, Private and Social Attitudes to Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(4), pages 837-57, July.
  2. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 1994. "The firm as a communication network," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9595, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  4. Frank, Robert H, 1985. "The Demand for Unobservable and Other Nonpositional Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 101-16, March.
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  6. Radner, Roy, 1993. "The Organization of Decentralized Information Processing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(5), pages 1109-46, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Fershtman, Chaim & Hvide, Hans K & Weiss, Yoram, 2003. "Cultural Diversity, Status Concerns and the Organization of Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 3982, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Renault, Régis, 2000. "The Costs and Benefits of Symbolic Differentiation in the Work Place," IDEI Working Papers 101, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 2002.
  3. Renault, Régis & Auriol, Emmanuelle, 2008. "Status and incentives," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/12479, Paris Dauphine University.

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