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You Don't Always Get What You Pay For

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  • Wendelin Schnedler

    ()
    (University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics)

Abstract

Consider a principal-agent relationship in which more effort by the agent raises the likelihood of success. Does rewarding success, i.e., paying a bonus, increase effort in this case? I find that bonuses have not only an incentive but also an income effect. Overall, bonuses paid for success may well reduce effort and hence the probability of success. I also identify conditions under which the income effect dominates the incentive effect, and single out the hazard-rate of effort as a crucial determinant of this trade-off.

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File URL: http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/md/awi/forschung/dp452.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0452.

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Length: 7 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2007
Date of revision: Sep 2007
Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0452

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Keywords: bonus; premium; incentives; income effect; moral hazard;

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References

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  1. Ernst Fehr & Bettina Rockenbach, 2003. "Detrimental effects of sanctions on human altruism," Microeconomics 0305007, EconWPA.
  2. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Bewley, Truman F, 1995. "A Depressed Labor Market as Explained by Participants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 250-54, May.
  4. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1983. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 7-45, January.
  5. Michael Kosfeld & Armin Falk, 2006. "The Hidden Costs of Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1611-1630, December.
  6. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
  7. Steven Shavell, 1979. "Risk Sharing and Incentives in the Principal and Agent Relationship," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 55-73, Spring.
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Cited by:
  1. Schnedler, Wendelin & Vanberg, Christoph, 2014. "Playing 'Hard to Get': An Economic Rationale for Crowding Out of Intrinsically Motivated Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 8108, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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