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Subjective Performance Indicators and Discretionary Bonus Pools

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  • MADHAV V. RAJAN
  • STEFAN REICHELSTEIN

Abstract

Key indicators of managerial performance are frequently subjective, that is, they are difficult to specify and/or verify for contracting purposes. When a principal must rely on subjective information to create incentives for a group of agents, discretionary bonus pools are shown to be optimal mechanisms. Despite their optimality, however, discretionary bonus pools entail an additional agency cost relative to the benchmark of optimal contracts based on objective and verifiable information. Our analysis identifies circumstances under which this additional agency cost is small, for example, the subjective information signals are precise, or the number of agents participating in the bonus pool increases. When incentive schemes can be based on both objective and subjective performance indicators, the relative weights to be placed on alternative signals are shown to differ from the ones predicted by models with objective signals only. We also demonstrate that correlation in measurement errors has a different impact on the structure of optimal incentive schemes when the performance indicators are merely subjective. Copyright University of Chicago on behalf of the Institute of Professional Accounting, 2006.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Accounting Research.

Volume (Year): 44 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (06)
Pages: 585-618

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Handle: RePEc:bla:joares:v:44:y:2006:i:3:p:585-618

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Cited by:
  1. Alexander K. Koch & Eloic Peyrache, 2005. "Aligning Ambition and Incentives," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 05/03, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Mar 2005.
  2. Kräkel, Matthias & Schöttner, Anja, 2010. "Technology choice, relative performance pay, and worker heterogeneity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 748-758, December.
  3. Toru Suzuki, 2010. "Competitive Problem Solving and the Optimal Prize Schemes," Jena Economic Research Papers 2010-083, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  4. Burney, Laurie L. & Henle, Christine A. & Widener, Sally K., 0. "A path model examining the relations among strategic performance measurement system characteristics, organizational justice, and extra- and in-role performance," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(3-4), pages 305-321, April.
  5. Budde, Jörg & Hofmann, Christian, 2011. "Dynamic Bonus Pools," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 443, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  6. Gürtler, Oliver & Kräkel, Matthias, 2008. "Optimal Tournament Contracts for Heterogeneous Workers," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 234, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  7. Irlenbusch, Bernd & Ruchala, Gabriele K., 2008. "Relative rewards within team-based compensation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 141-167, April.
  8. Oliver Gürtler, 2010. "Collusion in homogeneous and heterogeneous tournaments," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 100(3), pages 265-280, July.
  9. Imhof, Lorens & Kräkel, Matthias, 2013. "Bonus Pools and the Informativeness Principle," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 413, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  10. Nieken, Petra & Stegh, Michael, 2010. "Incentive Effects in Asymmetric Tournaments Empirical Evidence from the German Hockey League," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 305, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  11. Irlenbusch, Bernd & Ruchala, Gabriele K., 2006. "Relative Rewards within Team-Based Compensation," IZA Discussion Papers 2423, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Koch, Alexander K. & Peyrache, Eloic, 2005. "Tournaments, Individualized Contracts and Career Concerns," IZA Discussion Papers 1841, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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