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Learning-by-employing: the value of commitment under uncertainty

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  • Braz Camargo
  • Elena Pastorino

Abstract

We analyze commitment to employment in an environment in which an infinitely lived firm faces a sequence of finitely lived workers who differ in their ability to produce output. The ability of a worker is initially unknown to both the worker and the firm, and a worker's effort affects the information on ability that is conveyed by performance. We characterize equilibria and show that they display commitment to employment only when effort has a persistent but delayed impact on output. In this case, by providing insurance against early termination, commitment encourages workers to exert effort, thus improving the firm's ability to identify their talent. We argue that the incentive value of commitment to retention helps explain the use of fixed probationary appointments in environments in which there exists uncertainty about ability.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 475.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:475

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Keywords: Employment;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Arijit Mukherjee, 2008. "Sustaining implicit contracts when agents have career concerns: the role of information disclosure," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 469-490.
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  5. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Sundaram, Rangarajan K., 1998. "Optimal Retention in Agency Problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 293-323, October.
  6. Arantxa Jarque, 2005. "Repeated Moral Hazard with Effort Persistence," 2005 Meeting Papers 428, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  8. Bull, Clive & Tedeschi, Piero, 1985. "Optimal Probation for New Hires," Working Papers 85-01, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  9. Guasch, J Luis & Weiss, Andrew, 1982. "An Equilibrium Analysis of Wage-Productivity Gaps," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 485-97, October.
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  12. Carmichael, H Lorne, 1988. "Incentives in Academics: Why Is There Tenure?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 453-72, June.
  13. Waldman, Michael, 1990. "Up-or-Out Contracts: A Signaling Perspective," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 230-50, April.
  14. Brendan O'Flaherty & Aloysius Siow, 1992. "On the Job Screening, up or out Rules, and Firm Growth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 25(2), pages 346-68, May.
  15. Harris, Milton & Weiss, Yoram, 1984. "Job Matching with Finite Horizon and Risk Aversion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(4), pages 758-79, August.
  16. Manjira Datta & Leonard J. Mirman & Edward E. Schlee, 2002. "Optimal Experimentation in Signal Dependent Decision Problems," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(2), pages 577-608, May.
  17. Toshihiko Mukoyama & Ayşegül Şahin, 2005. "Repeated moral hazard with persistence," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 831-854, 06.
  18. Gustavo Manso, 2011. "Motivating Innovation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(5), pages 1823-1860, October.
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