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An experimental test of career concerns

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Abstract

Holmström’s (1982/99) career concerns model has become an important workhorse for the analysis of agency issues in many fields. The underlying signal jamming argument requires players to use information in a Bayesian way – which may or may not reasonably approximate real-life decision makers’ behavior. Testing this theory with field data is dicult since typically little is known about the information that individuals base their decisions on, and this explains the dearth of empirical studies. We provide experimental evidence that the signal jamming mechanism works in a laboratory setting. Moreover, subjects’ beliefs fit remarkably well requirements imposed by the Bayesian equilibrium concept.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London in its series Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics with number 04/31.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2004
Date of revision: Nov 2004
Handle: RePEc:hol:holodi:0431

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Keywords: incentives; reputation; career concerns; signal jamming; experiments.;

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  1. Irlenbusch, Bernd & Sliwka, Dirk, 2006. "Career concerns in a simple experimental labour market," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 147-170, January.
  2. Kübler, Dorothea & Müller, Wieland & Normann, Hans-Theo, 2005. "Job Market Signaling and Screening: An Experimental Comparison," IZA Discussion Papers 1794, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  4. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Gibbons, R. & Murphy, K.J., 1990. "Optimal Incentive Contracts In The Presence Of Career Concerns: Theory And Evidence," Working papers 563, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
  7. Fehr, Ernst, et al, 1998. "When Social Norms Overpower Competition: Gift Exchange in Experimental Labor Markets," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(2), pages 324-51, April.
  8. Ben Lockwood & Eric Le Borgne, 2003. "Do Elections Always Motivate Incumbents? Experimentation vs. Career Concerns," IMF Working Papers 03/57, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, 1999. "Wage Rigidity in a Competitive Incomplete Contract Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 106-134, February.
  10. repec:att:wimass:9210 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  12. Mirman Leonard J. & Samuelson Larry & Schlee Edward E., 1994. "Strategic Information Manipulation in Duopolies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 363-384, April.
  13. Susanne Lohmann, 1998. "Rationalizing the Political Business Cycle: A Workhorse Model," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 1-17, 03.
  14. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2004. "Do Labour Market Conditions Affect Gift Exchange? Some Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 684-708, 07.
  15. Simon Gaechter & Armin Falk, . "Reputation and Reciprocity: Consequences for the Labour Relation," IEW - Working Papers 019, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  16. Borland, Jeff, 1992. " Career Concerns: Incentives and Endogenous Learning in Labour Markets," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 251-70.
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