Equilibrium Incentive Contracts
AbstractWe study a labour market in which firms can observe workers’ output but not their effort, and in which a worker’s productivity in a given firm depends on a worker-firm specific component, unobservable for the firm. Firms offer wage contracts that optimally trade off effort and wage costs. As a result, employed workers enjoy rents, which in turn create unemployment. We show that the socially efficient incentive power of the equilibrium wage contract is constrained in the absence of unemployment benefits. We then apply the model to explain the recent increase in performance-pay contracts. Within our model, this can be explained by three different factors: (i) increased importance of non-observable effort, (ii) a fall in the marginal tax rate, (iii) a reduction in the heterogeneity of workers performing the same task. The likely effect of all three factors is an increase in the equilibrium unemployment rate.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3790.
Date of creation: Feb 2003
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
Other versions of this item:
- E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution
- J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
- J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Acemoglu, Daron & Shimer, Robert, 1999.
"Holdups and Efficiency with Search Frictions,"
International Economic Review,
Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 827-49, November.
- Oliver Hart & Bengt Holmstrom, 1986. "The Theory of Contracts," Working papers 418, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Acemoglu, Daron, 1996.
"Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
1459, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Daron Acemoglu, 1999. "Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1259-1278, December.
- Acemoglu, D., 1996. "Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence," Working papers 96-15, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Daron Acemoglu, 1998. "Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence," NBER Working Papers 6658, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Edward P. Lazear, 1996.
"Performance Pay and Productivity,"
NBER Working Papers
5672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- MacLeod, W. Bentley & Malcomson, James M., 1993.
"Wage premiums and profit maximization in efficiency wage models,"
European Economic Review,
Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1223-1249, August.
- Macleod, W.B. & Malcomson, J., 1989. "Wage Premiums And Profit Maximisation In Efficiency Wage Models," Papers 337, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
- Macleod, W.B. & Malcomson, J.M., 1989. "Wage Premiums And Profit Maximization In Efficiency Wage Models," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 114.89, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
- Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
- Frank, Robert H, 1984. "Are Workers Paid Their Marginal Products?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 549-71, September.
- Ritter, Joseph A & Taylor, Lowell J, 1994. "Workers as Creditors: Performance Bonds and Efficiency Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 694-704, June.
- Carmichael, Lorne, 1985. "Can Unemployment Be Involuntary? Comment [Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device]," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1213-14, December.
- Martin L. Weitzman, 1984.
"The Simple Macroeconomics of Profit Sharing,"
357, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
- Foster, James E & Wan, Henry Y, Jr, 1984. "Involuntary Unemployment as a Principal-Agent Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 476-84, June.
- Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion and Interindustry Wage Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 163-79, February.
- Moen, Espen R & Rosen, Asa, 2006. "Incentives in Competitive Search Equilibrium and Wage Rigidity," CEPR Discussion Papers 5554, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Ulf Axelson & Philip Bond, 2011. "Investment banking careers: An equilibrium theory of overpaid jobs," FMG Discussion Papers dp690, Financial Markets Group.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.