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Promotion Rat Race and Public Policy

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  • Geir Bjertnaes
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    Abstract

    This study investigates whether excess effort to climb a career ladder justifies policy interventions. The answer depends on whether the government is able to levy a higher tax burden on career workers than on non-career workers. Both a tax on top income aimed at lowering the rewards of promotion and a labour law that restricts excess effort require such a differentiation in the tax burden to improve welfare. The differentiation in tax burden prevents that the welfare gain of reducing excess effort is neutralized by the welfare cost connected to an increase in the number of career workers.

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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2012/wp-cesifo-2012-04/cesifo1_wp3781.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3781.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3781

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    Related research

    Keywords: tournaments; promotions; status; taxation;

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    1. repec:rje:randje:v:37:y:2006:3:p:521-542 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Carola Frydman & Raven S. Molloy, 2011. "Does Tax Policy Affect Executive Compensation? Evidence from Postwar Tax Reforms," NBER Working Papers 16812, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Martinsson, Peter, 2003. "Do You Enjoy Having More Than Others? Survey Evidence of Positional Goods," Working Papers in Economics 100, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    4. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2009. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," NBER Working Papers 15408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Baker, George & Gibbs, Michael & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1994. "The Wage Policy of a Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 921-55, November.
    6. Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela & Xianwen Shi, 2007. "Contests for Status," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 338-363.
    7. Michael Waldman, 2003. "Ex Ante versus Ex Post Optimal Promotion Rules: The Case of Internal Promotion," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(1), pages 27-41, January.
    8. Mats Persson & Agnar Sandmo, 2005. "Taxation and Tournaments," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(4), pages 543-559, October.
    9. Frank, Robert H., 2008. "Should public policy respond to positional externalities?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1777-1786, August.
    10. James Malcomson & James A. Fairburn, 2000. "Performance, Promotion, and the Peter Principle," Economics Series Working Papers 26, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    11. Jed DeVaro, 2006. "Internal promotion competitions in firms," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(3), pages 521-542, 09.
    12. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Sandmo, Agnar, 1994. " The Tax They Pay May Be Your Own: Promotion, Taxes and Labour Supply," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(4), pages 463-79.
    14. Bognanno, Michael L, 2001. "Corporate Tournaments," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 290-315, April.
    15. Baker, George & Gibbs, Michael & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1994. "The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 881-919, November.
    16. Malcomson, James M, 1984. "Work Incentives, Hierarchy, and Internal Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 486-507, June.
    17. Landers, Renee M & Rebitzer, James B & Taylor, Lowell J, 1996. "Rat Race Redux: Adverse Selection in the Determination of Work Hours in Law Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 329-48, June.
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