Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Employer moral hazard and wage rigidity. The case of worker-owned and investor-owned firms

Contents:

Author Info

  • Ermanno Celeste Tortia

    ()
    (University of Trento
    University of Turin and Namur, Belgium
    University of Naples, Federico II)

Abstract

The standard explanation of wage rigidity in principal agent and in efficiency wage models is related to worker risk-aversion. However, these explanations do not consider at least two important classes of empirical evidence: (1) In worker cooperatives workers appear to behave in a less risk averse way than in for profit firms and to accept fluctuating wages; (2) The emerging experimental evidence on the employment contract shows that most workers prefer higher but more uncertain wages to lower fixed wages. Workers do not appear to express a preference for fixed wages in all situations and different ownership forms, in our case worker cooperatives and for-profit firms, behave in different ways when dealing with the trade-off between wage rigidity and employment fluctuations. More specifically, worker cooperatives are characterized, in relative terms, by fixed employment levels and fluctuating wages, while for-profit firms are characterized by fixed wages and fluctuating employment. Our paper reinterprets these stylized facts by focusing on the relationship between wage rigidity and worker risk aversion in light of the presence of employer post contractual opportunism. Contractual incompleteness and private information on the side of the employer can compound in favouring the pursuit of the employer's objectives, when they diverge from the employee's ones. The idea of employer moral hazard is able to disentangle the observed behavioural differences in different ownership forms. By resorting to the standard efficiency wage framework, we show that, in the presence of employer moral hazard, employees in capitalistic firms generally prefer fixed wage, accepting this way a positive risk of lay-off. On the contrary, one of the main functions of fluctuating wages in worker cooperatives is to minimize the risk of lay-off.

Download Info

If 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.
File URL: http://econometica.it/wp/wp46.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometica in its series Econometica Working Papers with number wp46.

as in new window
Length: 27
Date of creation: Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ent:wpaper:wp46

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Edificio U9, Viale dell'Innovazione, 10, 20126 Milano
Phone: 0039 02 6448 6540
Email:
Web page: http://www.econometica.it
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: risk aversion; employer contract; moral hazard; asymmetric information; hidden action; risk aversion; income insurance; employment insurance; worker cooperatives;

Other versions of this item:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
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.:
as in new window
  1. Dow, Gregory K., 1987. "The function of authority in transaction cost economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 13-38, March.
  2. Bonin, John P & Jones, Derek C & Putterman, Louis, 1993. "Theoretical and Empirical Studies of Producer Cooperatives: Will Ever the Twain Meet?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 1290-320, September.
  3. Will Bartlett & Saul Estrin & John Cable & Stephen Smith, 1992. "Labor-managed cooperatives and private firms in north central Italy: An empirical comparison," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 103-118, October.
  4. Dohmen, Thomas & Falk, Armin, 2006. "Performance Pay and Multi-dimensional Sorting: Productivity, Preferences and Gender," IZA Discussion Papers 2001, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Burdín, Gabriel & Dean, Andrés, 2009. "New evidence on wages and employment in worker cooperatives compared with capitalist firms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 517-533, December.
  6. Blinder, Alan S & Choi, Don H, 1990. "A Shred of Evidence on Theories of Wage Stickiness," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(4), pages 1003-15, November.
  7. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
  8. Pencavel, John & Craig, Ben, 1994. "The Empirical Performance of Orthodox Models of the Firm: Conventional Firms and Worker Cooperatives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 718-44, August.
  9. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Björn Bartling & Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 2010. "Screening, Competition, and Job Design: Economic Origins of Good Jobs," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 263, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  11. 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.
  12. Edward P. Lazear & Kathryn L. Shaw, 2007. "Personnel Economics: The Economist's View of Human Resources," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 91-114, Fall.
  13. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
  14. Craig, Ben & Pencavel, John, 1992. "The Behavior of Worker Cooperatives: The Plywood Companies of the Pacific Northwest," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1083-105, December.
  15. Azariadis, Costas & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1983. "Implicit Contracts and Fixed Price Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 1-22, Supplemen.
  16. Joesph E. Stiglitz, 1975. "Incentives, Risk, and Information: Notes Towards a Theory of Hierarchy," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 6(2), pages 552-579, Autumn.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Ermanno Tortia & Martha Knox Haly & Anthony Jensen, . "Workers' propensity to cooperate with colleagues and the general population: a comparison based on a field experiment," Econometica Working Papers wp52, Econometica.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ent:wpaper:wp46. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Matteo Rizzolli).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.